TDOT prepares for the worst when it comes to unpredictable weather

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knox County (WVLT) The icy weather was certainly a shock to many this morning.

You may have been caught off guard as well.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more.

The heavy ice conditions came during one of the busiest times of the day.

The City of Knoxville says crews began salting the roads right around rush hour about seven o'clock this morning.

Despite the number of accidents, the city says they responded as well as they could based on the circumstances.

Robyn Quattlebaum, a Knoxville driver says, "it's absolutely terrible. It's filthy out here. It's a mess."

Slipping, sliding, skidding all over the black ice throughout Knoxville.

Jennifer Burns, a driver says, "I got on my road and started sliding as soon as I got on my road. I've hit two curbs just to make it to this point."

Ice is challenging no matter what car you drive, and while the side streets were the slickest, TDOT says they planned ahead for the state routes and interstates.

Bud Slaton, with TDOT says, "I spent some time on the Internet last night looking at what time the rain/sleet was going to come in."

Maintenance engineer, Bud Slaton, says he called all of the TDOT crews last night and had around 60 salt trucks out by five o'clock this morning, preparing for the worst.

"If it's called for period, we're going to be out, trying to be in force."

Beating rush hour traffic before the sleet came was critical for TDOT.

"When it starts to rain and when road temperatures are below 32 degrees, we see more of an instant freeze effect and so when you have traffic, that just adds to the inability to get to it and salt it."

The overpasses, bridges and shady spots were the biggest challenge for crews, and in Knox County coverage alone, TDOT spread more than 200 tons of salt.

"A truck roughly holds anywhere, smaller truck, eight tons up to twenty tons, and I've seen several trucks come and load again, so we've used quite a bit this morning."

TDOT spread more than 2,500 tons of salt region-wide, in 24 counties this morning.

They'll still be out salting their routes this evening.

The City of Knoxville says they will have ten salt trucks out and about until 8:30 tonight and then will decide what they'll do from there.


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