FRANKFORT, Ky. (1/24/13) – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Highway Crews in District 1 and District 2 plan to continue their pre-treating of area highways to prepare for a threat of freezing rain, sleet, and/or snow that is expected to sweep through the region on Thursday night into Friday morning.
This winter weather system has the potential to create some intense driving conditions, particularly on the Friday morning commute. At this time, accumulations are expected to be minimal. However, this system has the potential to be a high impact event due to the mixture of ice and snow in the forecast.
Motorists are urged to closely monitor the local weather forecast for updates as this winter weather system approaches.
Motorists should continue to be alert for slow moving trucks on Thursday as crews go about their work spraying brine to prepare roadways for this event. Kentucky highway crews spent much of today producing brine. The process involves running water through salt in a brine generator to create a solution.
The brine solution is then sprayed on roadways where the water evaporates to leave a fine powder of salt. That salt coating is then available to be activated as precipitation starts to fall during the early hours of a snow/ice event. In addition to improving safety by initially melting snow and ice as it falls, the salt powder also keeps snow from bonding to the driving surface making it easier for plows to push it off the roadway as it accumulates later in the event.
Pre-treating requires a fairly specific set of weather conditions. Temperatures have to be above about 22 degrees to allow brine to be applied; otherwise it could freeze when it hits the road surface creating a hazard. Kentucky highway crews generally do not pre-treat when rain is expected in advance of a winter weather event because the rain would wash away the benefits of the salt powder.
Temperatures were sufficient today to allow pre-treating. Temperatures on Thursday are expected to be warm enough that crews should be able to start work about 8:00 a.m., and have time to pre-treat most routes before the end of the day.
Again, motorists are urged to closely monitor the local weather forecast for updates on this event. While the snow/ice accumulation is expected to be less than some recent events, the potential for an accumulation of ice and/or freezing rain, then snow on top, creates the potential for a high impact winter weather event. Appropriate caution is required.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has established snow/ice priority routes for each county. Maps showing the snow removal priority routes are available at http://go.usa.gov/gmDe. In the initial hours of a winter weather event, crews focus much of their attention on “A” Snow/Ice Priority Routes such as Interstates, Parkways and U.S. Highways. As conditions improve on major transportation routes, crews move to “B” routes which are generally connector routes, then move to “C” routes which are generally rural secondary highways. Pre-treating efforts generally go in the opposite order because lower traffic volumes on "C" routes allow the pre-treating to last longer.
Timely traffic advisories for the 12 counties of KYTC Highway District 1 are available by going to www.facebook.com/kytcdistrict1. You do not have to be a Facebook member to access this page.
Timely traffic advisories for the 11 counties of KYTC Highway District 2 are available by going to www.facebook.com/kytcdistrict2. You do not have to be a Facebook member to access this page.
Information provided by Keith Todd (Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)
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