HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: The first significant snowfall is expected to cover the Tennessee Valley come Monday, so TDOT crews spent much of the weekend getting prepared. Main roads on Lookout and Signal Mountains have been pre-treated with brine, a salt-water solution. It makes snow plowing easier. Sometimes additives are used, but not for this storm.
"We [sometimes] add beet juice to it, it makes it stick to the road. That's [what we do] when we're expecting rain to come in before a snow event," explains TDOT Region 2 spokesperson Jennifer Flynn. "But in this case, we're not expecting that."
Flynn says pre-treating of lower elevation roads begins Saturday. High traffic roads like interstates go first, followed by primary state routes (noted by square and rectangular signs) and U.S. routes.
"We have some pretty big state routes like State Route 153, State Route 111, U.S. 27," says Flynn.
Then they move to smaller, secondary state routes (triangular signs), like Birchwood Pike for example.
Any portions of state routes that run through Chattanooga city limits are the responsibility of the city Public Works Department. All designated county routes are the responsibility of the county Road department.
Once it starts snowing, it's time to spread the salt. Very little has been used this winter, but it's still a precious commodity.
"We have to be very conservative with what we've got," says Flynn. "Even though we have not had a lot of bad weather this year so far, we need to keep our supplies."
There are 5,000 tons of salt and 30,000 gallons of brine available for Hamilton County alone. The trucks have state-of-the-art controls to cut down on waste.
TDOT doesn't work on roads leading into neighborhoods and subdivisions, but that doesn't bother lookout valley resident Alfred O'dell. He's looking forward to some snow.
"I don't really need to get out. I usually keep enough food to last three or four days. And water," says O'Dell.
If you have to escape your neighborhood, Flynn says plan ahead and stock up on rock salt to help melt the snow.
"If we get some precipitation, you can put that on your driveway," adds Flynn.
Also, in case you ever get stranded in a snow storm, have an emergency kit ready in your vehicle. For details, visit this website.