KYTC: Crews made good progress pre-treating highways before freezing rain, sleet move in | News
(KFVS) - The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says highway crews have made good progress in their effort to pre-treat area highways in preparation for freezing rain and sleet that is expected to sweep across the region on Thursday.
Crews in some counties plan to continue working until dark tonight to cover as many miles of roadway as possible.
A wintry mix starting in the Mississippi River border counties of Kentucky around sunrise and moving eastward through the day has the potential to create hazardous driving conditions. Drivers are advised to religiously monitor the local weather forecast for changes in the track of this winter storm and monitor area news media for road condition reports through the day on Thursday.
While accumulations in Western Kentucky are expected to be less that in areas of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois, even a small amount of freezing rain and sleet can create hazardous conditions, including issues with falling trees and/or power lines. Anyone traveling westbound along US 60 into Missouri, or westbound along Interstate 24 into Illinois and points north should be aware of this winter storm system and prepare to alter travel plans as required. According to the National Weather Service, the heaviest accumulations of freezing rain and sleet from this system are expected along a line from about Poplar Bluff, Mo., to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to Fairfield, Ill.
While KYTC highway crews have pre-treated a majority of highways across Kentucky’s westernmost counties, the ability to improve road surface conditions in areas hardest hit by the ice will be somewhat limited. A change in the track of the frozen precipitation of just a few miles can make a big difference in driving conditions.
Pre-treating involves spraying a brine solution on roadways that dries to leave a fine powder of salt. That salt coating is then available to be activated as precipitation starts to fall during the early hours of a snow/ice event. In addition to improving safety by initially melting snow and ice as it falls, the salt powder also keeps snow and ice from bonding to the driving surface making it easier for plows to push it off the roadway later in the event.
Crews have trucks loaded with salt and are prepared to roll out as needed when the freezing rain and sleet arrive on Thursday. While this system is not expected to be as severe as the ice storm of 2009, it still has the potential to create difficult driving conditions. Again, motorists are urged to closely monitor the weather forecast and watch for changing road surface conditions through the day on Thursday as the storm moves eastward.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has established snow/ice priority routes for each county. Maps showing the snow removal priority routes are available at http://go.usa.gov/gmDe.
In the initial hours of a winter weather event, crews focus much of their attention on “A” Snow/Ice Priority Routes such as Interstates, Parkways and U.S. Highways. As conditions improve on major transportation routes, crews move to “B” routes which are generally connector routes, then move to “C” routes which are generally rural secondary highways.
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