Race against time, temperature to clear pavement ahead of hard freeze
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2015) – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet highway district road crews continue plowing and salting roadways this afternoon following the morning’s newest round of snow – the second this week – and are preparing for a new, lighter round later today.
Crews in most districts are racing against time and temperature. Their challenge is to get roadways cleared before pavement temperatures drop too low for de-icing substances to be effective.
“Our crews have been working 12-hour shifts in an attempt to get ahead of the snow and ensure that main routes remain passable,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said.
Their challenge is being complicated by another round of snow forecast for later this afternoon. The arctic cold front that’s bringing the snow will also bring single digit temperatures, gusty winds and wind chills colder than 10 below zero.
Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday declared a statewide emergency because of a storm that blanketed the Bluegrass State with snow more than a foot deep in places. Snow fell at such a rate that plowed roadways quickly became covered again.
As with any significant snowfall, citizens should be aware that plowing may result in snow piles that block driveways, subdivision entrances and side streets. It is regrettable but unavoidable when plow crews must clear deep snow.
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. Some districts supplemented the plow fleet with road graders.
The cabinet also has deployed 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.
If travel cannot be avoided, motorists are advised to slow down, buckle up, rid themselves of distractions such as cell phones and keep extra distance – at least 500 feet – between themselves and other vehicles.
Snow removal efforts are initially focused on interstates and other major routes. Crews tend to secondary and rural roads once main routes have been cleared. To view the priority network for snow removal, go to http://transportation.ky.gov/Maintenance/Pages/Snow-and-Ice-Priority-Maps.aspx and select a county.