The first batch of the 2014 winter weather is expected to hit northwest Georgia late Sunday night and early Monday morning, with the mountains getting some snow accumulation, according to a Georgia Department of Transportation press release.
For crews with the GDOT in northwest Georgia, this means the potential for a long night keeping the roads clear and safe for the morning rush hour.
Winter weather preparations kicked into high gear Sunday evening as the first shift of the maintenance crews in District 6 in northwest Georgia gassed up trucks equipped with snow plows, salt and stone spreaders, and liquid deicer in case roads become covered with snow and rain turns into ice.
They are ready to clear the state roadways of ice and snow and keep Georgians moving.
“Our road clearing crews always hope for the best, but train and prepare for the worst,” Jason Moore, assistant maintenance engineer at the DOT office in Cartersville, said in the release. “These crews will be happy if winter weather never hits northwest Georgia.
"But if inclement weather comes tonight, our main concern becomes road conditions. Keeping the roads safe and open for emergency vehicles is our first priority. We are monitoring changing weather conditions and will treat roads as needed. Interstates will be cleared first, and then state routes from the most heavily traveled to the least traveled.”
In the 17 counties of northwest Georgia, the state DOT has the following resources to deal with any upcoming winter weather event:
- 257 employees on call covering 5,117 lane miles,
- 3,885 tons of salt,
- 4,629 tons of gravel,
- 15,000 gallons of brine and
- 120 pieces of snow removal equipment.
GDOT crews focus first on clearing interstates and heavily traveled state routes from snow and/or ice, and will specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, like hills, ramps, bridges and interchanges.
However, motorists are urged to:
Slow down and stay behind the snowplows. The road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive. Allow at least ten car lengths between your vehicle and snowplows or hopper spreaders.
Do not pass. The plows are wide, and sometimes a group of trucks will work in tandem to clear snow quickly, especially on major highways.
Be particularly aware of black ice conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps late tonight and the early hours of tomorrow morning.
Remember that technology helps, but only to a point. Four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control are beneficial advancements in today's cars, trucks and SUVs, but they can't take the place of good driving habits and the need to reduce speed on snowy or icy roads.
Call 511 or visit www.georgia-navigator.com 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. More information is available at www.511ga.org
Motorists may access real-time, statewide, route-specific information on accidents, road work, and traffic and weather conditions through Georgia 511 - a free phone service. By dialing 511, callers also can transfer to operators to 24 hours a day to report incidents or request assistance. The system can be used to access transit providers, major airports, ride share organizations, tourism information and 511 systems in surrounding states. Additionally, 511 is available online.
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