Diminished salt supplies force shift in tactics
An earlier, colder and snowier winter season has the Tennessee Department of Transportation implementing new strategies to conserve resources during snow and ice removal operations. Winter weather started affecting Tennessee roads in November of last year and TDOT's arsenal of salt is being used at a faster rate than our supplier can replenish reserves.
"An active winter weather season has increased demand for salt and has slowed efforts to replenish stockpiles," said TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges.
"We are working closely with our salt supplier to fill orders as quickly as possible. In the meantime, it will take our maintenance forces longer to clear all routes of snow and ice as we try to conserve salt."
TDOT will employ some of the other techniques available to clear roadways during weather events in the coming days and weeks.
Highway Maintenance County Supervisor John Reagan said, “Crews will increase the use of salt brine and calcium chloride, both of which can successfully melt snow and ice from roads, and will help stretch existing salt supplies until new salt shipments arrive in early February.”
TDOT will also use its fleet of snow plows to remove any snow accumulation from interstates and state routes.
In early January, TDOT shifted salt from the western and middle parts of the state to East Tennessee, where supplies were depleted by several winter weather events. However, all four regions of the state are now experiencing lower levels of resources.
"Once salt reserves are restored, TDOT will resume typical snow and ice removal operations on all state routes," TDOT Maintenance Division Director Greg Duncan said. "Until our salt supplies are replenished, we ask that motorists and residents use extreme caution as we face several more weeks of winter."
For more information on travel conditions on interstates and state routes across Tennessee visit www.tn.gov/dot/tdotsmartway or call 511 from any land line or cell phone.