DOT crews prepare for winter weather as storm moves into NC
Posted January 3, 2018 2:04 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT
Durham, N.C. — Dozens of North Carolina Department of Transportation crews were ready to go Wednesday to ensure roadways do not turn dicey as winter weather began moving into the state.
Winter weather advisories were expanded early Wednesday morning to include a string of counties from Cumberland County through Wake County and up to the Virginia line as the advancing winter storm threatens to drop several inches of snow in eastern and central North Carolina.
WRAL Chief Metrologist Greg Fishel said the Triangle could see anywhere from a trace to nearly 2 inches of snow, with the higher amounts toward the east. The storm should move out of the region by about 1 a.m.
Crews in Wake County began spreading brine on the roads Tuesday afternoon, not only concentrating on the eastern part of Wake County as originally planned, but bringing the brine westward as well.
A total of 60,000 gallons of brine was spread across the area.
Now that the brining is done, crews are preparing for what could come along with snow.
"Bring them in as snow begins to fall. I don't know which forecast, some said afternoon, some said evening, bring them in and then they'll be in all through the night into the next day until the roads are clear," DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said of crews.
At some point, the decision has to be made to transition from brine to sand and salt.
"We're going to brine until precipitation starts falling. We're loading up the rest of the salt spreaders today and have them ready. Then we transition to snow and ice and once that snow starts falling and start putting sand and salt down on the roads as needed," said Bill Hammond, a spokesperson with Cumberland County.
The salt should help as temperatures dip into the teens Wednesday night, but even a dusting can cause problems.
"Whatever doesn't melt and evaporate during the day on Thursday - and it will get above freezing a little bit, so there should be some melting - but when it gets into the mid-teens on Thursday night, salt and brine don't work when it is that cold," he said.
In Nash County, trucks were spreading brine on Interstate 95 by Wednesday evening.
"If you see our trucks out there, try to stay away from them," Rodney Matthews, a maintenance supervisory with the NCDOT said. "We are doing the best we can. We do work long hours, but we are doing the best we can to try to get people from point A to point B."
Matthews said crews were also working to pretreat roads around hospitals and schools.
"Yesterday, we put out about 29,000 gallons of salt brine, and today we will probably get close to that same amount," he said.