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State road crews on alert as winter storms blanket area

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 When winter weather hits, it’s probably best to stay home and avoid the roads. Especially rural and secondary roads where hills can shade icy patches and prevent melt and state road crews don’t spread salt. 

But if you absolutely have to get out, and you can reach a state route, you can rest assured that state road crews have been vigilant in keeping those roads clear, even with the repeated snowfalls and freezing temperatures. 

Crews with District 9 of the Transportation Cabinet have been on alert for the last three weeks, starting with the snowstorms over the weekend of January 15, which resulted in several inches of accumulation over the weekend. 

Snow and ice removal crews were back on alert beginning last Wednesday when the National Weather Service expected another one to three inches of accumulation across the region. Crews work 12-hour shifts during snowstorm conditions, working to plow and salt state routes to keep them clear for motorists and emergency vehicles. 

They stayed on alert through this weekend, when another several inches of snow were expected, and high temperatures were still not expected to reach above freezing. 

Even with the crews on alert, however, the Transportation Cabinet advises that roads may not be clear until after the snow has passed. They advise any motorists who may have to be on the road, either during snow conditions or even following snow – when crews have been able to treat roads – to leave a “space cushion” between vehicles in case of the need to brake during icy conditions. They also remind motorists that bridges and overpasses can freeze before roadways do, and to be extra careful when driving across those roadway features during cold weather. 

They also advise drivers that “priority routes” such as interstates and roadways leading to hospitals will receive treatments first. Those roads will be followed by “priority B and C routes” which “include important but lesser-traveled state routes.” 

Over 75 snow plows, salt trucks, and other pieces of equipment are utilized by state crews in the district to keep over 2,000 miles of state highways passable. 

Road crews were expected to remain on duty through Monday evening and Tuesday morning as air and pavement temperatures remained below freezing and dropping temperatures – falling into the 20s – along with continued snow accumulation were expected to result in slushy and freezing conditions. 

You can find more information about snow removal efforts, including snow removal priority routes, online at http://SnowKY.ky.gov. You can also follow District 9 online on Twitter and Facebook at http://twitter.com/KYTCDistrict9 and http://facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9 for the latest updates and information on snow removal efforts. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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