RALEIGH - From the mountains to the coast, N.C. Department of Transportation crews are pre-treating roads with a salt-water mix called brine ahead of a storm forecasters predict will bring snow, ice or a wintry mix to North Carolina. This proactive move will help ensure travel conditions on the roads are as safe as possible.
Because the forecast currently includes the potential for ice accumulation, NCDOT reminds residents of the dangers of fallen trees and power lines. NCDOT crews will work with the power companies to remove the trees and lines as needed and ask residents not to take matters into their own hands.
Here's what NCDOT crews are doing to prepare in various regions of the state.
Western-Brining operations began Sunday on all bare pavement routes and should be completed Monday evening. Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties had snow removal operations taking place over the weekend so salt is already on primary routes there. Crews are on standby to reapply brine if needed, and plow and sand once the weather hits. Charlotte Area-Crews began brining Sunday in Mecklenburg and Union counties on all bare pavement routes and have completed their pre-icing operations. Crews are on standby to reapply the mixture, if needed, are preparing trucks to plow and sand once the weather arrives. Central Brining operations started Monday and will continue all day to spread the mixture on all bare pavement routes, which includes interstates, four-lane divided primary routes, and other primary and secondary routes. Crews are on standby to plow and sand once the snow begins to fall.
Eastern-Brining operations started Monday on all bare pavement routes in anticipation of the wintry mix. Crews are on standby to plow and sand once the snow, sleet and ice hits. Typically, the NCDOT does not pre-treat roads with salt brine if the winter weather is expected to initiate as rain because it would wash away. But if a forecast predicts the weather event could include snow/frozen precipitation or rain, crews will often brine on interstates, primary roads, bridges and overpasses just to be safe. The safety and storm cleanup benefits of brining those areas should the weather turn out to be snow and frozen precipitation outweighs the loss of the brine if it only rains, since brine costs so little to produce.
NCDOT offers the following safety tips for driving in winter weather:
Reduce speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles;
Approach bridges and overpasses with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on a bridge unless necessary;
If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car;
Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection in case any vehicles coming from other directions lose control of their vehicles while trying to stop.
If you have a cellular phone, take it with you. You can contact the Highway Patrol statewide by calling *HP (*47) or call law enforcement by dialing 911. But please don't call 911 to check on road conditions. That line must be kept open for emergencies.
The Statewide Transportation Operations Center (STOC) will post adverse weather messages on its digital message boards based on information and updates received from the National Weather Service. It also has a plan in place for additional staffing should the winter weather necessitate the need.