TDOT preparing roadways for winter weather

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Winter has finally arrived in West Tennessee, and it is already giving us a few transportation concerns.

But with the beginning of the season, how prepared are those around us to ensure safe roads?

TDOT preps for winter weather in West Tennessee

“We plan for winter year long, whether it’s working on our machines and our equipment, or ordering supplies and salt. Currently, we have around 25,000 tons of salt in our West Tennessee area,” said Nichole Lawrence, the Community Relations Officer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Lawrence says they stay stocked year round.

“We have to keep those orders running all year to make sure that there’s plenty of time to get it here prior to winter,” Lawrence said.

Out of the 800 salt trucks in the state of Tennessee, around 20% of those trucks are located here in West Tennessee.

“Specifically in West Tennessee, we have 175-176 trucks, and that’s spread out throughout our West Tennessee area,” Lawrence said.

TDOT preps for winter weather in West Tennessee

But TDOT says they need quite a few trucks to cover their wide 21 county area during the winter months.

“What we’re in charge of are those interstates and state routes, and that covers about 95-9,600 lane miles that we have to cover,” Lawrence said.

And when they are covering their long route, Lawrence says to give them space so they can continue preparing safe roads for your commute.

“When you see those trucks out plowing or applying our salt brine mixture, make sure you’re giving those guys plenty of room to work,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence says individual counties are in charge of county roads, but they all work together with the National Weather Service to prepare for any type of severe weather.

“We have a great partnership with the National Weather Service. That helps us decide on how we respond and react to the weather events,” Lawrence said.

And on days like Thursday, that communication is important to prepare safe roads early before the event.

TDOT preps for winter weather in West Tennessee

“Tomorrow we will begin applying that salt brine mixture to our roadways in that 21 county area,” Lawrence said.

But even after the mixture is applied to roads, they still may be slick.

So make sure to take it slow in your speed, acceleration, braking, and turning when driving.

For updates on traffic in Tennessee, check out the TDOT SmartWay map.

Find live radar, hour-by-hour forecasts and more in the WBBJ Weather app.

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