For this week’s Road Patrol, we’re giving you a peak at how the roads are treated and maintained when snow is in the forecast.
When temperatures drop, the division of highways keep a close eye on the roadways.
Before snow falls, crews pre-treat roads with brine to give it a protective barrier on the surface.
“And then once the snow starts falling, we’re either treating with salt or salt and brine water combination. As the salt melts, then it, of course, melts the snow or the ice that’s on the roadway, as it turns into brine water to help clear the roadways for the traveling public,” said Cliff Fulton, Transportation Crew Supervisor 2 of the WV Department of Highways.
Employees from the Tunnel Hill DOH location on Route 50 have four different salt trucks to patrol the four lane highway,from West Union to Lodgeville Road in Bridgeport.
“If there’s actually a storm in progress, it’s just ongoing. It’s a constant until the storm is over, the snow is moved out and the roadway is dry and completely dried over for the traffic that’s on it,” said Fulton.
The Tunnel Hill location alone, houses twelve hundred tons of salt to be used in the winter.
“And then after the storm, it’s just kind of a cleanup. You’re having to watch and make sure your road is dried up so they don’t refreeze and keep them treated until the moisture dries off of them,” said Fulton.
It’s important to be cautious when traveling near salt trucks. They typically travel at only 35 mph.
“We have ‘keep back’ signs. Keep back 100 feet. We have ‘slow moving’ triangles on the back of the truck. Just be aware. You know, we’re out there for the public safety, as well as everybody else. We’re traveling at slow speeds trying to get the job done. If you can avoid passing and keep a safe distance, it’s the best solution,” said Fulton.