NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is on Day Two of winter weather preparations, covering nearly 11,000 miles of roadway with brine and salt. The forecasted rainfall and extremely cold temperatures, however, could erase some of their work.
“It’s kind of a mixed bag. We’ve got precipitation, but we’ve also got these insane temperatures,” said Rebekah Hammonds, community relations officer for TDOT Region 3. “This is a situation where it’s very fluid and we’re making sure to monitor when that changeover happens and what the temperatures are looking like at the time.”
Hammonds said they’re being proactive. However, they recognize some of their preparations will wash away in the rain.
“When this all kind of happens, we have our crews out actually at their routes at that time so they’re able to see first hand when that changeover happens so they’re able to hit the roads,” said Hammonds.
Additionally, Hammonds said salt is ineffective in temperatures below 20 degrees.
“We know that it’s not 100% effective when it is so cold, but we also know that we’re going to continue the effort in hopes that we can improve any conditions possible,” said Hammonds.
Hammonds said TDOT crews will continue pretreating roads on Thursday, Dec. 22 and re-treat trouble spots after rush hour. She said crews will return around 4 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23 for early morning travelers.
“Really at the end of the day, if you don’t have to get out on the road, please don’t. It’s not going to be the safest conditions,” said Hammonds. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure it is and to hopefully get you where you need to go to see your family, but if you don’t have to, take your time, let the temperatures warm up.”
TDOT will have extra help units working Thursday night and Friday morning to respond to any trouble or crashes that result from driving in the weather.
“We know that no matter much we urge people to be safe, slow down, maybe don’t get on the roads, people will,” said Hammonds. “That’s what the help units are for and they really are so important.”