TDOT says its ready for winter blast - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TDOT says its ready for winter blast

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NASHVILLE, TN (WRCB) -

The Tennessee Department of Transportation says it is prepared and ready to clear roadways of ice and snow this season.

When snow hits Tennessee, TDOT ice and snow removal teams focus first on clearing interstates and heavily traveled state routes and will specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, such as hills, curves, ramps, bridges and interchanges. During prolonged weather events, crews may have to clear roadways repeatedly.

Over the last several weeks, salt supplies have been replenished in all 95 counties, and crews have readied snow plows and brine trucks for the winter season.
 
“Tennessee often sees the bulk of its winter weather in January and February,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “Our salt bins are fully stocked and we have more than a thousand employees ready to mobilize in the event of inclement weather.”

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Salt is in short supply across the nation after last year's severe winter. This year, TDOT's salt shipments are coming from South America.

While all of TDOT's 132 salt bins have been filled to capacity, new orders may take some time to arrive. Because of possible delays in future salt shipments, TDOT personnel will work to conserve salt supplies by “careful” calibration of  TDOT's fleet of salt and brine trucks.

TDOT says it can also use chemical additives such as calcium chloride to stretch salt supplies.
 
The agency's statewide 2014/2015 winter weather budget is $19.6 million, and includes salt, salt brine, overtime for employees, and equipment maintenance. The department has a total of three salt vendors to refill salt bins in all 95 Tennessee counties.
 
TDOT currently has more than 200,000 tons of salt and more than 2 million gallons of salt brine ready for use.  Salt brine is a salt/water mixture used as a pre-treatment for roads prior to a winter storm or to melt snow on roadways when temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark.

Salt is applied to roads once snow has started to accumulate. 

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