Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) highway district road crews are mostly spot treating today as arctic temperatures send the state into a deep freeze.
Crews stayed busy Wednesday plowing and salting roadways following the second round of snow that fell across the Commonwealth this week. Crews were able to clear most roads by the afternoon but then battled drifting snow throughout a gusty evening.
Crews worked through the late evening hours keeping roads clear and were back at it early today, plowing and spot treating trouble areas, hills and curves in most districts. Temperatures continued to drop throughout the night and into today, reaching below zero in most parts of the state by early morning.
Today, crews will continue to push back snow from shoulders and plow secondary and rural routes where necessary.
“Our crews have worked around the clock this week keeping main routes passable. The colder than normal temperatures and wind gusts have created new issues, but our crews are ready to meet those challenges,” said Michael Williams, KyTC snow and ice coordinator.
While crews work to finish cleaning roads from the snow earlier this week, a new storm system is expected to bring a wintry mix to the area beginning Friday afternoon. Light snow is in the forecast, changing to a wintry mix by Friday night and switching to rain by Saturday evening as temperatures begin to rise. Crews will be working on trucks and restocking materials in preparation for this next round.
A statewide emergency declared by Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday remains in effect. The governor’s action came during 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.
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.