FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews, reinforced with contract plow operators, are at work across the Commonwealth in an effort to keep interstates and other high-priority routes passable through a winter storm with heavy snow and bitter cold.
The cabinet’s 12 highway districts reported virtually all roads mostly or completely covered. Plow trucks have been deployed nearly nonstop, with drivers working 12-hour shifts. At least three districts – District 9, Flemingsburg; District 10, Jackson; and District 12, Pikeville – reported also using road graders.
Kentucky’s accumulation typically has been a dry powder, easily plowed but coming down in such volume that plowed driving lanes quickly become covered again.
“Our crews are faced with a big challenge – keeping our interstates and other major highways open so that traffic and commerce can keep moving through the state,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “We are using all our resources to accomplish that.”
Crews in many areas concentrated on plowing instead of salting through most of the day because pavement temperatures were too low for salt to have much effect. But District 5, Louisville, chose to spread salt to help with traction during the evening commute.
The Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) can deploy 1,000 snow plows and 385 contractors with plows, but has responsibility for 63,000 lane miles of roadway. The cabinet also deployed 17 SAFE Patrol trucks – Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies – whose drivers are trained to render emergency assistance. SAFE Patrol units operate along interstate routes, parkways, U.S. 23 and KY 80.
Travel is not advised, but motorists who must be out are advised to slow down, buckle up and maintain a “space cushion” – a safe distance of at least 500 feet between vehicles. Motorists also are cautioned to give a wide berth to snow plows and other heavy highway equipment.
Motorists also are advised to pack an emergency kit – blankets, water, food and flashlight. It also is advisable to have a shovel and a source of grit – sand, cat litter or something similar – in the event of a vehicle getting stuck.
Keep up with KYTC news via Twitter, http://twitter.com/kytc, and Facebook, http://facebook.com/kytc120. Traffic and travel assistance is at http://511.ky.gov or by dialing 511. Look out for stranded motorists. If you see or suspect that someone is stranded, call 911 or contact the Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555.