TDOT readies for weekend winter weather

Staff Reports • Updated Jan 12, 2018 at 2:00 PM

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Transportation officials said Thursday it is stocked and ready to clear roadways of ice and snow. 

In preparation for the winter season, salt supplies were replenished in all 95 counties, and crews have readied snowplows and brine trucks.

“We begin our winter preparations months in advance,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “Our salt bins and our brine are fully stocked, and our employees are ready to mobilize in the event of inclement weather. Clearing our roadways as soon as we can is vital to keeping motorists safe and traffic moving in Tennessee.”

TDOT’s statewide winter-weather budget this year is $21.4 million, and includes salt, salt brine, overtime for employees and equipment maintenance. The department has three salt vendors to refill salt bins, as needed in all 95 Tennessee counties.

TDOT currently has more than 229,000 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 such as hills, curves, ramps, bridges and interchanges. During prolonged weather events, crews may have to clear roadways repeatedly.

TDOT has a fleet of more than 800 snow trucks statewide, designed to remove snow and ice safely and efficiently from state routes and interstates. In January, 108 new trucks will hit the road to tackle winter weather. 

For winter weather tips and travel information, and a regional breakdown of TDOT winter weather supplies and equipment, visit tn.gov/tdot/inclement-weather/ice---snow.html.

TDOT officials also plan to share information on social media about how TDOT fights winter weather.

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