Frankfort, KY- The changing weather means that winter is approaching. But the big question is "What kind of winter will we have this year?" Even though the severity of winter weather is unpredictable, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet always plans for the worst conditions.
"Preparing for winter weather is nearly a year-round activity, but when it comes time to battle snow and ice our crews are ready to keep the 27,000 miles of state maintained highways clear of snow and ice," said Acting Deputy State Highway Engineer Chuck Knowles.
During the summer and fall months, KYTC stocks up on all of the needed salt and liquid chlorides so that by mid-November 300,000 tons of salt and 1.5 million gallons of liquid chlorides is stored across the state. Both anti-icing (applying liquid chloride solution to dry pavement) and de-icing (applying dry sodium and calcium chloride solutions to snow and ice already fallen) techniques are used to combat the conditions. Prior to each winter season, KYTC staffers review and make necessary changes to the snow and ice routes and response plans while other employees receive snow and ice removal training. In early fall, snow and ice equipment such as trucks, loaders, spreaders, and plows are inspected and prepared for winter activity. KYTC uses nearly 1,000 state-owned dump trucks, 170 state-owned loaders, and over 200 contract snow and ice trucks to keep the roads clear.
Other snow and ice fighting tools include 40 roadway weather information stations, which provide data regarding pavement temperature, air temperature, dew point, wind speed and direction, and precipitation. This information is funneled electronically to an "operations center" in Frankfort that is manned 24 hours a day and this information is shared with the twelve Highway District Offices across the state.
To find out conditions of major roads throughout the state, motorists can refer to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s statewide 511-travel information service by dialing 5-1-1 or visiting www.511.ky.gov. The system offers reports on construction, accidents and congestion as well as National Weather Service warnings. You can also find your county’s snow and ice priority map on-line at http://transportation.ky.gov/Maintenance/.
Cabinet personnel are on call 24 hours and are called out at the first sign of inclement weather. Roadways are cleared based on traffic usage, with the more traveled roadways (interstate, parkways and primary roads) cleared first. Generally, the Cabinet is responsible for cleaning all state-maintained highways. County and city crews across the state are responsible for snow and ice removal on their respective roads and streets.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet encourages all motorists to drive safe and smart this winter and be cautious around snow and ice trucks.