Friday, January 22, 2016

Normal road conditions could be days away

West Bellville Street in Marion around 2 p.m.

With nightfall quickly approaching, snow and ice crews will remain on the job for the rest of evening and into Saturday.

Today’s heavy snow storm dumped over 14 inches of snow in some parts of the state causing many delays, service disruption, impassable roadways and overturned semis along the interstates. 

The most problematic areas for traffic included I-65 near Hart County; I-75 in Rockcastle County and spots of U.S. 23 in Lawrence County.  Extra resources have been dedicated to clear these priority routes.

This afternoon, Gov. Matt Bevin issued a statewide emergency declaration that will “provide local officials immediate access to state resources for public safety and assistance.”  This order expands the scope of assistance and gives more flexibility to officials to leverage resources.

The Kentucky National Guard, in conjunction with the Transportation Cabinet, has strategically position tow trucks across the Commonwealth.  Crews are on standby to remove major blockages along priority routes and help alleviate any queued congestion.

Gov. Bevin also stressed in his order that motorists need to restrict non-essential travel.  Bevin continued, “We urge all citizens to remain at home and stay off of the roads allowing emergency services the opportunity to keep the roadways safe.”

By staying off the roadways, crews will be able to safely plow more highways and effectively do their jobs.  Motorists are also advised to give a wide berth to snow plows and other heavy highway equipment along the roadway.

Motorists should stay off the shoulders in the case of a traffic backup.  This may create additional crashes or hazards and not allow emergency vehicles, tow trucks and plows to access the scene.

Due to the sheer volume of snow, it may take days for roads to return to their normal conditions.  Crews will continue to focus on clearing high priority routes and shift to rural/low volume roads once those major routes are clear.