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State, local highway crews ready for winter weather

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By Dave Taylor

Last week’s brief snowfall and blast of arctic air served notice that winter is right around the corner. Local and state road crews are prepared for the onslaught of winter weather, according to officials from both agencies.

“That little burst of winter kind of caught everyone off guard,” said Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson. “But after all, it is December and we’re going to have that.”

Tomlinson said last week’s brief snow and icy temperatures provided “a good little test run” for Carroll County Road Department Superintendent Doug Crawford and his crew of eight employees.

“It helped us determine how ready we are” for bad weather, Tomlinson said. “The main thing is to be sure we have enough salt and cinders on hand and as far as those things are concerned we’re in good shape.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet snow and ice removal crews are also ready for the winter snow season, according to Nancy Wood, Public Information Officer for the Cabinet’s District 6, which includes Carroll County.

The District 6 Office monitors the weather and will mobilize crews when needed. State and contractor trucks will be loaded and ready to go in the event of bad weather. District 6 has about 30,000 tons of salt available, Wood said.

Tomlinson was among several county executives who testified before a recent meeting of the General Assembly’s Interim Joint Committee on Transportation. Among the numerous concerns raised by the judge executives was whether there was the ability of state road crews to competently keep state roads safe and passable this winter.

“One of the points we raised with the subcommittee,” Tomlinson said, “did the state have a good comfort level with their amount of salt in storage. The best time to buy-in salt is during the summer because the price is lower.”

As part of the KYTC Snow and Ice removal plans, priority routes, such as interstates, four-lane highways and U.S. highways will be addressed first before moving to secondary state routes.

“Maintenance crews in District 6 are prepared to work as long as it takes to ensure the roads are in the best condition possible during any winter event,” Wood said.

Carroll County added to is inventory of road equipment in September with the purchase of a 2010 Ford F550 4x4 with a 9-ft dump bed from Earl Floyd Ford in the amount of $46,535.29. Another of the dump trucks has been refitted with a used dump purchased from another county. Tomlinson said Crawford and crew expect to complete the installation of a new salt box on yet another truck this week.

“As far as equipment is concerned we’ll be in good shape once that salt box is installed,” Tomlinson said.

Condition reports on major routes are available by calling 511 or logging onto the 511 travel and traffic information website at http://511.ky.gov. With the 511 service motorists can know what to expect when they get out on the road. Road conditions are described in the following manner:

Wet Pavement – The roadway is wet. Ice could form as temperatures drop.

Partly Covered – The roadway is partly covered with snow, slush or ice. Markings may be obscured.

Mostly Covered – The roadway is mostly covered with snow, slush or ice. Roadway markers may be difficult to see because of packed snow and rutting conditions.

Completely Covered – The roadway is completely covered with snow, slush or ice and markings are obscured.

Impassable – Roadway conditions are not suitable for travel unless required by an emergency.

Drivers are also reminded that bridges and overpasses are typically the most treacherous. Motorists should use extreme caution when traveling during any winter weather event.