Winter weather is quickly approaching some parts of Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Transportation is stocked and ready to clear state roadways of ice and snow this season. TDOT crews will once again use a variety of tools to battle winter weather including salt, salt brine, beet juice, and potato juice.
“Last year’s winter storms forced TDOT crews to use twice as much salt and three times as much salt brine as we normally use during a winter season to keep our roads clear of ice and snow,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “After replenishing our supply our crews are ready to go to work keeping Tennesseans moving this winter season.”
TDOT currently has more than 174,000 tons of salt and more than 1.4 million gallons of salt brine ready for use. TDOT crews can add a substance made from potato juice or a substance made from beet juice to salt and salt brine to help melt ice and snow at lower temperatures. Both substances are biodegradable, non-corrosive, and are environmentally friendly. The department is also adding ten new snow plows.
When snow hits Tennessee, TDOT ice and snow removal teams focus first on clearing interstates and heavily traveled state routes and will specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, like hills, curves, ramps, bridges and interchanges.
TDOT maintenance personnel stay in close contact with the National Weather Service leading up to a possible winter storm. Once snow begins to fall they monitor roadway conditions through a number of means including the Roadway Information System (RWIS).
TDOT has 36 RWIS stations statewide that monitor weather related factors such as air temperatures, dew-point, wind speed/direction, precipitation types and rates, and asphalt temperatures. The Tennessee Highway Patrol also alerts TDOT to any problem areas on roadways across the state as do TDOT Help Units in the urban areas.