DOT gearing up for storms

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 7, 2011

RALEIGH — The forecast predicts parts of North Carolina may see snow, ice or freezing rain tonight and again on Monday. To help keep motorists safe, N.C. Department of Transportation crews are spraying salt brine on roads where rain is not expected to fall initially as tonight’s storm moves in. Salt brine is a salt and water solution that helps prevent ice from bonding to the pavement.
NCDOT maintenance workers also have plows ready to push any snow that accumulates off the roads and to spread salt on slick spots, especially bridges and overpasses. Below is a regional breakdown of NCDOT winter storm preparations:
Western mountains
Crews in Caldwell, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties are spraying salt brine on I-74, I-77, U.S. 52, U.S. 321 and U.S. 421 today. Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties saw snow Wednesday night and black ice in some areas yesterday. Snow is falling again today. Workers will use plows to clear roads, as needed. Engineers are waiting for the forecast to develop before deciding if they will brine in preparation for next week’s storm.
In the greater Asheville area, snow is already falling in the higher elevations, with more expected tonight. Maintenance workers are well-stocked with salt and sand, and will begin plowing if the snow accumulates. Engineers are monitoring the weekend forecast and will determine, based on how it develops, if they will bring crews in this weekend.
The southern mountain counties got snow last night and continue to see flakes today. The higher elevations could get as many as 10 inches. Workers will begin plowing when conditions warrant. Based on the current weather models, engineers plan to start brining on Sunday in preparation for next week’s storm.
Greater Charlotte area
Crews in Alexander, Catawba and Iredell counties are spraying salt brine on primary roads and bridges such as U.S. 64, U.S. 321, I-77 and I-85. They will not brine in Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties, because the storm is expected to begin there as a rain event. If snow falls, workers will plow snow and spread salt, as needed. Engineers will continue to watch the forecast before deciding if they will brine roads on Sunday in advance of Monday’s storm.
Anson, Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties will not brine roads today. Crews will be on standby throughout the region overnight to respond quickly to icy spots. In preparation for next week’s storm, workers will begin brining roads Saturday and resume Sunday afternoon if needed.
Triad
Crews in Davidson and Forsyth are spraying salt brine on the roads today, but workers in all other Triad counties are not. They will be on standby overnight to address any snow accumulation or icy spots. Engineers plan to initiate the brining process throughout the region on interstates and primary routes Sunday before snow falls on Monday.
Triangle
Crews in the Triangle area will be on standby overnight tonight to address any snow accumulation or icy spots. They will begin spraying salt brine on roads Saturday and possibly again on Sunday in anticipation of Monday’s storm.
Sandhills
Crews in Chatham and Randolph counties are applying salt brine to the roads today since they are in the northern part of the sandhills, which is expecting an inch of accumulation. Workers are scheduled tonight to address any accumulation or icy spots. If snow falls, workers will plow snow and spread salt, as needed.
Along I-95
Major primary roads in counties along I-95 are being sprayed with salt brine today. They will be on standby tonight and in constant contact with local law enforcement. Depending on the amount of rain with Friday’s storm, crews may need to put salt brine down on I-95 again prior to Monday’s storm.
In preparation for Monday’s storm, crews will salt brine Saturday and possibly again on Sunday. Bladen and Columbus counties will begin brining on Saturday.
East of I-95
Crews east of I-95 are putting out salt brine today on major routes in preparation for the predicted snow tonight. They will not brine in Dare, Carteret, Craven, Jones or Pamlico counties, because the storm is expected to begin there as a rain event. If snow falls, workers will plow snow and spread salt, as needed.
Areas north of N.C. 41 are applying salt brine to primary routes as a precautionary measure for the overnight forecast.
Engineers will continue to watch the forecast before deciding if they will brine roads on Sunday in advance of Monday’s storm. However, crews will be ready with brine and plows as the forecast develops.
NCDOT encourages motorists to “know before they go” about road conditions by calling 511, the state’s toll-free travel information line, or visiting the department’s Traveler Information Management System. Citizens can also get updates on our winter weather response by following NCDOT on Twitter.

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