NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Transportation can assure motorists it is stocked and ready to clear roadways of ice and snow. In preparation for the winter season, salt supplies have been replenished in all 95 counties, and crews have readied snow plows and brine trucks.
“Tennessee’s weather can be unpredictable to say the least, so we begin our winter preparations months in advance,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “We have our salt bins fully stocked, our brine ready and our employees prepared to mobilize in the event of inclement weather. Clearing our roadways as soon as we can is vital to keeping motorists safe and traffic moving in Tennessee.”
TDOT’s statewide 2016/2017 winter weather budget is $19.4 million, and includes salt, salt brine, overtime for employees, and equipment maintenance. The department has a total of two salt vendors to refill salt bins as needed in all 95 Tennessee counties.
TDOT currently has more than 247,000 tons of salt and over 1.6 million gallons of salt brine ready for use. Salt brine is a salt/water mixture used as a pre-treatment for roads prior to a winter storm or to melt snow on roadways when temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark. Salt is applied to roads once snow has started to accumulate.
When snow hits Tennessee, TDOT ice and snow removal teams focus first on clearing interstates and heavily traveled state routes and will specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, such as hills, curves, ramps, bridges and interchanges. During prolonged weather events, crews may have to clear roadways repeatedly.