What led to the massive traffic backup Tuesday? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What led to the massive traffic backup Tuesday?

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No matter which way you went drivers trying to get home Tuesday afternoon were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, in some areas for hours, especially around downtown Chattanooga.

Joan Webb says it took her four hours to drive 12 miles to get home. "I left work at 1:30 p.m., got home at 5:30 p.m.," Webb says.

At least she stayed in good spirits. "Hey, there was nothing you could do but laugh," she says.

Chattanooga's Public Works Department admits it wasn't ready for the weather nor was anyone else.

"It looked like everybody predicted the storm was going to be in Atlanta or south so we didn't take any special precautions. All the sudden Mother Nature changed her mind," Public Works Administrator Lee Norris says.

He says the department's first salt truck left the yard around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. "They were actually able to get out and put down one load of salt and sand, a lot of the trucks. Came back for the second load and by that time the schools had dismissed, the businesses dismissed and we were stuck in traffic like everyone else," says Norris.

The mass exodus had every road and street leaving downtown Chattanooga packed with motorists. The interstates didn't fair much better, TDOT officials say there was major congestion on all the main interstates.

"Our applications of salt did not work as well as it could've if we had traffic moving," TDOT Traffic Manager Bob Van Horn says.

Crews will continue to treat the roads throughout the evening and night but officials have just one bit of advice if your safe at home. "Just stay home, enjoy the weather. We'll get the roads cleaned up as fast as we can," Norris says.

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