Transportation Cabinet road crews battle heavy snowfall
Crews focus on plowing, temps too low for salting to be effective
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews, reinforced with contract plow operators, are working across the Commonwealth today in an effort to keep priority routes passable as a winter storm with heavy snowfall sets in.
Crews report that the snow is mostly a dry powder, easily plowed but coming down in such volume that plowed driving lanes quickly become covered again.
Crews in many areas are concentrating on plowing instead of salting. Pavement temperatures typically are below the point at which salt is effective. And with the necessity of repeated plowing, salt would be scraped away, in any event.
The Transportation Cabinet can deploy 1,000 snow plows and 385 contractors with plows, but has responsibility for 63,000 lane miles of roadway. The cabinet also deployed 17 SAFE trucks – Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies – whose drivers are trained to render emergency assistance.
On Sunday, Gov. Steve Beshear issued a statement advising Kentuckians to stay put today if possible. “Our first priority must be safety,” the Governor’s statement said.
For those who must avoid travel, here are some tips for safe winter driving:
- Slow down.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Leave early – allow more travel time; expect delays.
- Increase distance between vehicles – it takes significantly longer to stop on snow-covered or icy roadways.
- Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel – having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or having a collision.
- Turn on your vehicle’s headlamps. Remove any dirt, mud or snow.
- Use caution on bridges and overpasses, as they are susceptible to freezing before roadways.
- Avoid using cruise control – cruise can cause the vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased.
- Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time.
- Charge your cellular phone prior to departure.
- Take a blanket.
- Notify a family member or a friend of your travel plans prior to departure – if your travel is interrupted, someone will know.
- Be patient – bad weather also limits the capabilities of law enforcement officers and emergency crews and increases response time. Also, keep in mind that they will be experiencing a high volume of requests for service.
- Attempt to move your vehicle out of the roadway if you are involved in a minor, non-injury traffic collision; especially if you are in a dangerous area such as a curve or a blind hill.
- If your vehicle is stranded or wrecked but not in the roadway, attempts to recover your vehicle will have to wait until conditions improve for safety considerations.
Look out for stranded motorists. If you see or suspect that someone is stranded, call 911 or contact the Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555.