School systems relying on Mother Nature to clear Triangle-area slick spots
Posted February 20, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — As students across the bulk of the Triangle enjoy a fourth day off from school, school systems are now relying on Mother Nature – instead of road crews – to make sure roads are clear for the resumption of classes next week.
Because of bitterly cold temperatures that have shattered records in the last two days, state Department of Transportation crews have been unable to do much to clear secondary and neighborhood roads since Wednesday.
Shady areas on some of those roads have remained slick, forcing school closures, and temperatures in the single digits have solidified the ice that has been left behind from Monday' and Tuesday's snow-sleet mix.
DOT officials said plows won't do much to clear ice while temperatures remain below freezing. The ice would damage plows, and the plows would rip up the roads. Treating problem spots with salt is also less effective because the compacted ice is so hard.
Crews in Wake County are responsible for 1,449 miles of interstate and primary roads and 4,340 lane-miles of secondary roads, the most of any county in the state. The county has about 55 trucks to treat those roads. In Raleigh, about 40 trucks are responsible for clearing 2,500 lane-miles.
Warmer air is forecast to push into the Triangle by midday Saturday, and rain showers on both Saturday and Sunday should help melt the ice left on secondary and neighborhood roads.