GDOT prepares roads for winter weather - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

GDOT prepares roads for winter weather

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The interstates and state routes are the Georgia Department of Transportation's main priority as possible winter storms roll in. Crews have been up an down I-75, I-24 and I-59 treating the roads since Thursday. 

"We plan to stay ahead of that storm and we hope to stay ahead of it after it hits Northwest Georgia," said GDOT's spokesperson, Mohamed Afara. "Starting at 9 o'clock we sent out our brine tankers to pre-treat the interstates with Brine. This is mixed liquid of salt and water that helps limit the freezing and limit the bonding of ice to the pavement."

GDOT employees are on-call covering 5,117 lane miles. The workload has been divided into two 12-hour shifts consisting of 122 employees each. The first shift began at 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. 

In 17 counties of northwest Georgia, the state DOT has a total of 66 snow trucks, 9,580 tons of salt, 10,409 tons of gravel, and three brine units. In addition, there are 13 Road Weather Information System (RWIS) sensors across the region, which are used to determine where to send crews and help keep track of road conditions.

Afara said the most vulnerable parts of the highways and state routes are bridges, overpasses and shady areas, which are the main focus areas. 

"We expect the temperature to drop tonight below freezing and that's why they are concerned about any precipitation freezing on the roadway," said Afara. 

With past winter storms creating chaos, including the one in 2014 that stranded thousands of drivers on I-75 in Atlanta, Afara said prevention is key. 

"After every event winter weather event we sit down and review what worked what didn't work what are the learning lessons of the past event and we include these lessons in our planning for the future next storm to hit the state."

Crews are urging drivers encourage to play it safe, be careful and avoid heading out in wintry conditions if possible.

You can also call 511 or visit its website to get current information on road conditions. 

Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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