Every year about this time, when the winter weather descends upon North Carolina and blankets our state’s highways, citizens call in and ask, “I need to get to work. When are you going to plow my road?” As much as The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) crews would like to immediately respond to every caller, the department has a set snow and ice removal process in place.
NCDOT plows the following roads known as bare pavement routes first:
After bare pavement routes:
How did the NCDOT determine its priority order?
Here’s how the department tackles the storm:
The NCDOT works in conjunction with the National Weather Service to ensure to the best of its ability that its 3,200 trained employees stay ahead of the storm by pretreating roads with a brine mixture to keep the snow and ice from sticking, then plowing and sanding once the wintry weather hits.
Why brine? Based on recent winters and long-term projections, the NCDOT presets its budgets in advance for snow and ice removal, as well as pretreating operations, and since we like to save taxpayers money, brining is extremely cost effective. It uses less salt overall, which saves money and is better for cars and the environment.
Interesting NCDOT Storm Fighting Facts:
For more information, contact NCDOT communications @919-707-2600.
Crews pretreating roads, on standby for snow and ice event
From the mountains to the coast, N.C. Department of Transportation crews pre-treated roads with a salt-water mix called brine ahead of a storm forecasters predicted would bring snow, ice or a wintry mix to North Carolina. This proactive move helped ensure travel conditions on the roads are as safe as possible.
Because the forecast currently includes the potential for ice accumulation, NCDOT reminds residents of the dangers of fallen trees and power lines. NCDOT crews will work with the power companies to remove the trees and lines as needed and ask residents not to take matters into their own hands.
Here’s what NCDOT crews did to prepare in various regions of the state:
Typically, the NCDOT does not pre-treat roads with salt brine if the winter weather is expected to initiate as rain because it would wash away. But if a forecast predicts the weather event could include snow/frozen precipitation or rain, crews will often brine on interstates, primary roads, bridges and overpasses just to be safe. The safety and storm cleanup benefits of brining those areas should the weather turn out to be snow and frozen precipitation outweighs the loss of the brine if it only rains, since brine costs so little to produce.
NCDOT offers the following safety tips for driving in winter weather:
The Statewide Transportation Operations Center (STOC) will be posting weather messages on its digital message boards based on information and updates we receive from the National Weather Service. It also has a plan in place for additional staffing should the winter weather necessitate the need.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website.
Get emergency information from the N.C. Department of Public Safety at http://readync.org/, and download the ReadyNC app to help you prepare for everything from road conditions to severe storms on a daily basis.