TDOT treats higher elevations ahead of potential winter weather
With the potential winter weather on its way area road crews are on standby.
"We were expecting rain to come in beforehand. So we don't brine when rain is coming in because brine is just salt water and it would just wash away," says Jennifer Flynn with TDOT.
As the forecast has changed so have TDOT's battle plans.
"The forecast has been a little difficult to interpret," says Chris Smith, Region 2 Director of Operations.
Channel 3 was there as TDOT made the call to start treating several state routes in Region 2.
"We've just developed our game plan. We're going to be putting brine down."
"The forecast seems to be a moving target at this point, we have decided that we will be brining the higher elevations this afternoon," says Flynn.
TDOT crews loaded up the mixture of brine and beet juice to tackle the mountain roads.
"We'll be up on Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, on State Route 111, and on White Oak Mountain. So that's our plan right now," says Flynn.
As for TDOT's salt supply it is very healthy compared to just a few years ago. In 2011, supplies almost ran out.
The department had a statewide budget of $15.5 million for winter weather treatment. Now it's $19.5 million.
"There was one year that we were perilously low on our salt. But we learned from that experience and at that point we just had one vendor that we got our salt from. Now we have three. Our budget has increased," says Flynn.
Flynn says thankfully old man winter has been relatively well-behaved so far.
"This winter has been a lot better than the last couple of winters so we're very appreciative it's been relatively mild."
Even so, she and others are looking forward to March 20.