District 8 highway crews ready for first winter event

With more than 29,000 tons of salt on hand, combined with more than 80 snow plows, salt spreaders and other equipment ready in Russell, Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Lincoln, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, and Wayne counties, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 8 crews are ready for winter weather duty.

A state of emergency was declared by Gov. Andy Beshear yesterday ahead of an arctic front that will move across the Commonwealth later today. The National Weather Service says rain will to change to snow Thursday night with a sharp drop in temperatures. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph can create whiteout conditions that dramatically reduce visibility. In addition, downed trees and power lines are a concern due to high winds. Hazardous road conditions can be expected, travel is not advised during this winter weather event. District 8 crews will be remain on duty this afternoon monitoring conditions and will work to keep routes as safe as possible.

Since October, district crews have been inspecting snow plows, calibrating salt-spreading equipment and developing snowstorm response procedures to keep District 8 state roads passable during inclement weather.

“We take snow and ice response very seriously,” Chief District Engineer James Jones said. “The Transportation Cabinet recognizes how important roadway conditions are to motorists, especially during winter storms. Our highway crews often spend long hours away from home to keep roadways clear and safe for the traveling public. We appreciate their service.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet mission is to keep traffic moving in a safe manner with an emphasis on maintaining mobility along critical corridors and priority routes. When bad weather hits, crews are assigned 12-hour shifts to plow and treat roads using a priority system based on the amount and nature of traffic within each individual county. Priority A routes include major through routes and are those most heavily traveled. Priority B routes include other important, but lesser traveled, state routes. Other roads fall into Priority C.

The Cabinet’s snow and ice information website, http://snowky.ky.gov, provides details about priority routes, helpful winter weather tips, fact sheets and videos on salt application and snow removal.

In addition, the public can monitor winter operations in real time on the state’s interactive traffic system – GoKY.ky.gov – to find out what’s happening on state routes in their local counties.

Throughout snow season, which runs from November to April, highway response teams across Kentucky serve weekly on-call rotations. The teams monitor weather reports when snow is in the forecast and determine when to activate the state’s arsenal of snow-fighting equipment, including more than 1,000 snow plows.

Be prepared:

The following measures will help keep motorists safe and prepared:

– Pay attention to weather advisories. Weather will impact your commute on some level

– Travel only as necessary during major snow events. It’s better to be stuck at home than to be stuck on the road

– Maintain a safe distance from snowplows and other heavy highway equipment

– Do not pass snowplows on the shoulder

– Allow time for a slower commute

-Winterize vehicles

-Supply vehicles with blankets, flash light and an emergency supply kit

-Know before you go. Visit goky.ky.gov and download the free Waze app to check traffic conditions before you travel. You can also get traffic information for the District 8 counties at www.facebook.com/KYTCDistrict8 or by following us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/KYTCDistrict8.

-Eliminate distractions (e.g. using phone and eating) while driving