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Public Works & Assets Newsroom

KYTC District 5 Crews Ready for the Next Round of Winter Weather

Wednesday December 15, 2010

Salt Supplies Being Replenished at Area Maintenance Facilities

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) road crews in Louisville and the surrounding counties are preparing for the next round of winter weather forecasted for Wednesday night and Thursday morning. District 5 staff hauled salt to area maintenance facilities from the reserve at the Louisville Mega Cavern. Crews will continue those efforts today in order to replenish salt supplies before the snow, sleet and freezing rain beings to fall.

With precipitation predicted to begin this evening, KYTC road crews will be held over past their normal work schedule. Contract crews come on duty later this evening as well.

“Our crews are prepared to work long hours to clear roads so drivers can reach their destinations safely,” stated Matt Bullock, Chief District Engineer for District 5. “Operations will continue throughout the duration of the winter weather event and beyond to keep the roadways in the best possible condition.”

With over 6500 tons of salt spread on area roadways earlier this week, there is still a substantial amount of salt residue on the pavement. That salt residue means no pre-treating with brine will be required for this weather event.

District 5 personnel have the responsibility for clearing more than 2,400 miles of state-maintained highways in the counties of Bullitt, Franklin, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble. Crews are prepared to work long hours clearing any accumulation from the roadways. 166 state and contract trucks are utilized to salt and plow the roadways in these eight counties with 78 of these trucks concentrated on the interstates in Jefferson County. Per an agreement with Louisville Metro government, the Metro Department of Public Works will be clearing snow and ice from all state routes in Jefferson County, excluding interstates.

Motorists are advised to give a wide berth to plows, salt trucks and other snow-clearing heavy equipment. To be effective in dispersing de-icing material, trucks tend to travel at a slower speed. A snow plow may create a snow cloud which can cause a “whiteout” –zero visibility condition – so keep a safe distance from the trucks.

As KYTC crews have made preparations for clearing roadways, motorists should also be prepared for driving in snow and ice by following these tips:

  • Make sure your vehicle is sufficiently winterized – check the battery, antifreeze level, heater, defroster, wipers and windshield washer.
  • Check the forecast and call 511 or visit for the latest condition reports before traveling. Avoid nonessential travel if conditions are dangerous.
  • Dress warmly for the weather –in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, in anticipation of unexpected emergencies.
  • Try to keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent fuel line freezing and to prepare for possible lengthy delays on the roadway.
  • Make sure a friend or relative is aware of your travel route.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Make sure your vehicle has an emergency care kit. It should include jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, an ice scraper, blankets, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, and traction material.
  • Drive carefully. Allow plenty of time to get to your destination. Do not use cruise control.
  • Give a wide berth to snow removal equipment.
  • Remember that bridges and exit and entrance ramps can be icy when other areas are not.
  • Stopping in snow requires more braking distance than stopping on dry pavement – up to four times more distance. Make sure to put plenty of distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead.
  • Be visible. Dull, cloudy days will cut down on visibility, so drive using low-beam headlights.
  • Steer into the skid. Stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go.

Condition reports on major routes are available by calling 511 or logging onto the 511 travel and traffic information website at Road conditions are described in the following manner:

Wet Pavement – The roadway is wet. Ice could form as temperatures drop.

Partly Covered – The roadway is partly covered with snow, slush or ice. Markings may be obscured.

Mostly Covered – The roadway is mostly covered with snow, slush or ice. Roadway markers may be difficult to see because of packed snow and rutting conditions.

Completely Covered – The roadway is completely covered with snow, slush or ice and markings are obscured.

Impassable – Roadway conditions are not suitable for travel unless required by an emergency.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, through the 511 service strives to provide the most descriptive and up-to-date information for motorists so they know what to expect when they get out on the road.