MDOT prepares for winter weather

Commercial vehicle restriction on U.S. Highway 49 bridge in Rankin County. Source: MDOT
Commercial vehicle restriction on U.S. Highway 49 bridge in Rankin County. Source: MDOT
Published: Jan. 28, 2019 at 8:57 PM CST
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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Monday’s clear roads could quickly change in the overnight and morning hours Tuesday. But it’s the time in between the sunshine and snow that complicates planning for the Mississippi Department of Transportation in the Central Mississippi area.

ALERT DAY: Winter Storm Warning expanded to cover more of the area

“Right now, they don’t plan on pre-treating with any salt brine, just because they are talking about some rain starting first," said MDOT Public Information Manager Jason Scott. "We can’t put that liquid material down ahead of rain because it would just wash it away.”

Still, in some of the Delta counties, crews did start pre-treatments early in the day. So, what does MDOT have to combat slick conditions in the central part of the state? It’s a combination of two materials, each has its own purpose.

The ashpalt slag "provides additional traction on those bridges and overpasses,” according to Scott.

And the salt reduces the freezing point.

“So, putting that salt down on the roadway, it makes the freezing point lower of the roadway, so that when that rain does fall as temperatures are dropping, it is a barrier between the precipitation and the roadway,” noted Scott.

This winter weather forecast stretches across much of the state. Which begs the question, do they have what they need?

“This covers four different districts," explained Scott. "They’ve all got their own resources.”

And they’re thinking ahead on how to make the best use of the manpower available.

“We’ve already put our maintenance crews on shift work," said Scott. "We’ve got some of our night crew already gone home for the day to rest and prepare. They’ll come in late this afternoon and be ready to monitor it through the night and early in the morning.”

As always, MDOT is reminding people that if there is ice reported in their area, to stay off the roads, if possible. And if you do have to be out and happen to see MDOT crews, try to give them room so they can treat the roads and keep them safe for you and other drivers.

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