Charlotte - A warm, sunny November day makes the thought of winter seem far in the future, but the Department of Transportation doesn't wait for the first cold snap to be ready for inclement weather. Maintenance crews across Division 12, which include Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell and Lincoln counties, continue to prepare for whatever winter has in store.
Across the division, 203 employees are trained to use 214 pieces of equipment like tandem trucks, spreaders and motor graders. Crews typically perform dry runs of snow and ice routes in October and November to make drivers familiar with routes in each county and to assess any necessary equipment repairs.
In addition, the division stores up to 11,970 tons of salt and 4,635 tons of sand. Crews also can make up to 123,000 gallons of brine -a mixture of water and 23 percent salt used to pre-treat roadways before a storm hits. When a storm threatens the area, NCDOT pre-treats roadways, bridges and overpasses to keep ice from bonding to the pavement.
"We start at least two days in advance if the event's getting ready to happen," says Gaston County Maintenance Engineer Johnny Murdock.
You can find out more about how NCDOT gets ready for winter storms on the DOT website. Motorists can also visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov for real-time travel information or follow NCDOT on Twitter.