TDOT prepares salt bins, trucks for winter weather - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TDOT prepares salt bins, trucks for winter weather

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TDOT said it has 31 salt bins stocked and ready for winter weather. Each county within the East Tennessee region has its own salt bin. WBIR photo TDOT said it has 31 salt bins stocked and ready for winter weather. Each county within the East Tennessee region has its own salt bin. WBIR photo
KNOXVILLE (WBIR) -

Now that Halloween is over, winter weather is the main focus for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Although TDOT said it prepares for the snowy season year-round, it said it's ready to hit the roads as soon as winter storms strike.

"Statewide, when it comes to this time of year, we'll have right around a thousand maintenance workers that will be on the Tennessee roadways," TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi said.

READ MORE | 2015 Paul Barys' Winter Weather Outlook

Nagi said TDOT expects to spend only slightly more than last year for the snow and ice season.

"We're looking at our budget to be fairly similar to what it was last year," Nagi said. "For East Tennessee, the 24-county region, which stretches all the way from Roane County and Morgan County all the way to upper East Tennessee, that budget for snow and ice season is approximately $8 million."

In 2014, TDOT spent $7,926,250 on this region's more than 9,000 interstate and state routes in the region. Statewide, the ice and snow budget was just less than $20 million.

"It's all hands on deck whenever we get some winter weather," Nagi said. "Today's a beautiful day. Temperatures in the 70s, but you never know. Next week, we could end up getting snow in East Tennessee, especially in the higher elevations, so if we do get any of that winter weather, our folks will be ready to go."

TDOT has a fleet of about 215 salt trucks, 215 snow plows and 31 salt bins, which together carry a total of nearly 70,000 tons of salt.

Even with last year's ice blast, Nagi said road crews are not worried about that happening again.

"The fact that we had a very rough February, it was the type of thing that we were used to from the past," he said. "It really didn't affect us going forward because we knew any time winter weather is going to be there, our folks will be working."

He said each county has its own salt bins stocked and ready.

The National Weather Service said it can't predict East Tennessee's first snowfall, but it doesn't expect a "harsh" winter.

Meteorologists said they expect above normal precipitation, whether it be rain or snow, because of the milder temperatures and cloud cover.

They said they cannot rule out the possibility of ice storms like last year.

Read more at WBIR's website.

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