Near blizzard like conditions Monday at Newfound Gap. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
TDOT Ready to Tackle Winter Weather
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TDOT) – Despite the mild start to winter, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is stocked and ready to clear roadways of ice and snow this season. Over the last several weeks, salt supplies have been replenished in all 95 counties, and crews have readied snow plows and brine trucks for the winter season.
“Even small amounts of snow or ice can cripple our transportation system and create dangerous conditions for motorists,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “We have more than 1200 TDOT employees who are ready to mobilize quickly in the event of winter weather and they will work until our roads are clear.”
After severe winters in 2009 and 2010, TDOT increased its 2012/2013 winter weather budget to $19.7 million. TDOT’s winter weather budget includes salt, salt brine, overtime for employees, and equipment maintenance. The department has a total of three salt vendors to refill salt bins in all 95 Tennessee counties.
TDOT currently has more than 200,000 tons of salt and more than 1.6 million gallons of salt brine ready for use. Salt brine is a salt/water mixture used as a pre-treatment for roads prior to a winter storm or to melt snow on roadways when temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark. Salt is applied to roads once snow has started to accumulate.
When snow hits Tennessee, TDOT ice and snow removal teams focus first on clearing interstates and heavily traveled state routes and will specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, like hills, curves, ramps, bridges and interchanges.
TDOT has a number of tools available to keep motorists informed about travel conditions, including the TDOT Smartway Mobile website (http://m.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/), which provides smartphone users access to TDOT’s SmartWay cameras, incident information, and messages displayed on overhead Dynamic Message Signs. Users can also access valuable information on weather related road conditions such as snow and ice, as well as flooding.
For more information about TDOT winter weather preparations, or for a regional breakdown of TDOT winter weather supplies and equipment, visit the TDOT web site at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/mediaroom/snowbuster.htm.