The first batch of the 2013 winter weather is expected to hit northwest Georgia late this afternoon and evening with the mountains getting some snow accumulation. For crews with the Georgia Department of Transportation, that means the potential for long days and even longer nights keeping the roads clear and safe for the traveling public.
Georgia DOT workers in northwest Georgia are busy this afternoon gearing up for this potential winter weather event. They are getting their trucks mounted and ready to respond if and when the time comes for clearing the roads from snow and/or ice.
“Our road clearing crews always hope for the best, but train and prepare for the worst,” said Ken Howard, maintenance engineer at the DOT office in Cartersville. “These crews will be happy if winter weather never hits northwest Georgia. That way, they can continue to work on the roads, instead of clearing them.
“But when inclement weather comes, our main concern becomes road conditions. Keeping the roads safe and open for emergency vehicles is our first priority. We monitor changing weather conditions and treat roads as needed. Interstates are cleared first, and then state routes from the most heavily traveled to the least traveled.”
The state Department of Transportation in northwest Georgia has the following resources to deal with any winter weather event:
- 270 employees on call covering 5,117 lane miles
- 4,885 tons of salt
- 6,370 tons of gravel
- 120 pieces of snow removal equipment
Georgia DOT is currently monitoring the weather forecasts and road conditions. It will respond accordingly and specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, like hills, ramps, bridges and interchanges.
Those who need to hit the roads can call 511 or visit www.georgia-navigator.com to get current information on road conditions. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.511ga.org.