GDOT preps to avoid a future Snowmaggedon catastrophe

Posted by Dena Mellick November 17, 2015
An icicle hanging from a tree at Decatur High School. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

An icicle hanging from a tree at Decatur High School. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it’s learned some harsh winter lessons and is preparing to take on the next cold weather blast.

GDOT said it has invested in equipment and additional resources to keep roadways clear during significant winter weather events.

“The last two winter seasons have taught us some very important lessons and we have listened,” GDOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry is quoted as saying in a press release. “As a result, we have made significant investment in technology, additional resources and equipment for the upcoming year and the future.”

You’ll recall, Atlanta essentially shut down after a snowfall in 2014, dubbed Snowmaggedon by some, that left lots of drivers stranded on interstates around the metro area.

GDOT said added resources include:

• Additional brine making and snow removal equipment
• Construction of additional salt barns and material storage facilities
• Expansion of statewide Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) features with a specific focus on additional resources along the I-20 corridor
• Expansion of the Roadway Weather and Information System (RWIS), which allows the Department to utilize additional weather sensor data from neighboring states and general aviation airports.

McMurry also thanked the more than 1,900 GDOT employees who will work shifts for upcoming bad weather in the press release.

Here’s the full winter preparation press release:

Georgia DOT Showcases Winter Preparations

ATLANTA – Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry today hosted a press conference to discuss the Department’s readiness for upcoming winter weather. The Department has made strategic investment in additional equipment and resources to help keep roadways clear and safe during upcoming winter storm and other inclement weather events.

“The last two winter seasons have taught us some very important lessons and we have listened. As a result, we have made significant investment in technology, additional resources and equipment for the upcoming year and the future,” McMurry said.

Additional resources, monitoring devices and deployment services include:
• Additional brine making and snow removal equipment
• Construction of additional salt barns and material storage facilities
• Expansion of statewide Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) features with a specific focus on additional resources along the I-20 corridor
• Expansion of the Roadway Weather and Information System (RWIS), which allows the Department to utilize additional weather sensor data from neighboring states and general aviation airports.

The Commissioner thanked the more than 1,900 GDOT employees who will work shifts for upcoming events. The Department will also continue the procedure where designated teams respond to specific types of incidents – 10 brine distribution teams dispensing brine before and during a winter weather event; 18 interstate teams with snow plows and material spreaders treating the interstates around metro Atlanta; special response teams to specifically address hot spots as they arise; and traffic strike teams consisting of other state agencies and GDOT to focus on clearing incidents on major interstates and roadways in metro Atlanta.

“Even while using the best weather information technology, Mother Nature can throw you a curve ball,” the Commissioner added. “Our employees are dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure the safety of our citizens. When the unexpected happens, we are prepared and ready.”

Motorists are cautioned to be aware of black ice that may occur whenever there is moisture on the roadway in freezing temperatures. Drivers should also watch for Georgia DOT crews working to clear snow and ice from interstates and state routes. These employees are working in a work zone and need to be safe. Do not pass a Georgia DOT dump truck spreading the salt/gravel mixture, as gravel may kick up and could break car windshields. Motorists should follow at least 100 feet behind Department vehicles and always be alert when driving through inclement weather conditions.

About Dena Mellick

Dena Mellick is the Associate Editor of Decaturish.com.

View all posts by Dena Mellick

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