When the weather turns from snow and ice to blue skies, TDOT crews get a break from treating the roads. But this doesn't mean they take a vacation. Region 2 spokesperson Jennifer Flynn says plenty of other things have to be done, like preparing the brine and salt for the next storm. Then there's smoothing out the countless number of potholes.
"There are times where we have to get out and patch those pot holes with cold mix. We may have to patch the same hole again next week," says Flynn.
Other jobs have to be covered, too.
"Clearing ditches. Cutting trees," adds Flynn. "Clearing rocks off the side of the shoulder of the road if we have a rockfall somewhere."
Thursday morning crews helped with an asbestos inspection on an Interstate-24 ramp.
Flynn says the construction and maintenance divisions merged several years ago, saving tax payers and the state money with a cross-training team approach.
"Some of the construction people have been trained to drive snow plows. They can cut trees that fall as a result of ice," says Flynn.
In the spring and summer, the winter crews help with mowing and paving.
Also, on quiet winter days, TDOT's hard-working team of mechanics inspects and repairs vehicles to get them ready for the next round of snow and ice.
Bruce Madewell has been on the job for 28 years.
"Things get torn up when we spread salt and scrape roads. So we have to replace the blades and give them a good going-over to make sure everything's working on them," says Madewell. "We don't want anybody sliding off the roads."
Madewell's team also works on mowing and paving machines during the rest of the year.
"We've always got something to do," states Madewell.
They also work on dozens of vehicles from other state agencies such as the Sheriff's Department, Forestry Department, and TDEC.
Flynn applauds everyone's efforts, especially those of the people in the garage.