December 5-9 is National Winter Weather Preparedness Week
ATLANTA, GA – It’s the National Weather Service’s Winter Weather Preparedness Week (Dec. 5-9) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) is reminding the public of its efforts year-round to prepare for the winter weather season. Winter officially arrives Dec. 21.
“Each year we take a look at past winter weather events and evaluate lessons learned, outcomes achieved and opportunities for future improvement to ensure we are as prepared as we can be when snow or ice threatens to impact our roads,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, P.E.
As far back as July, each of Georgia DOT’s seven regional districts carefully took inventory of materials and equipment used for winter weather events, a painstaking process that is repeated in November on the cusp of winter’s return. Stockpiles of salt, calcium chloride and other materials used to battle ice and snow are inventoried and reorders placed, if needed. Crews of maintenance experts fan out across the state’s roadways to assess routes and snow-removal capabilities and review all safety and training procedures to ensure crews and the motoring public remain safe during a snow or ice event. Equipment including snowplows and brine trucks, among others, receive any necessary maintenance. And Georgia DOT’s emergency plan is in place to reallocate district resources to the most-needed areas during an event.
Here’s a look By the Numbers at Georgia DOT’s winter weather arsenal, which includes approximately:
- 1,922 employees on call covering 40,359 lane miles of interstate and state routes
- 53,880 tons of salt
- 43,520 tons of gravel
- 128,400 gallons of calcium chloride
- 446,970 pounds of calcium chloride (granular)
- 1.8 million gallons of brine
- 393 snow removal dump truck units (one plow + spreader + dump truck = 1 dump truck unit)
- 61 F-250 pick-ups with plows and spreaders
- Capacity to store over 130,000 gallons of calcium chloride
- Ability to produce 50,000 gallons of brine per hour statewide
- Thirteen tankers to dispense brine on metro Atlanta interstates before winter weather hits
- Thirty-one 5,000-gallon tankers to apply brine treatment to interstates and critical routesThe Forest Park facility has an automated brine production unit with
- 220,000 gallons of storage
- Six multi-lane tow plows to clear two lanes in one pass
- All single and tandem trucks have the ability to plow snow and ice and/or spread salt for de-icing
If a winter weather event is forecast to impact Georgia roads, Georgia DOT initiates emergency response plans immediately – monitoring the storm, preparing crews and equipment and collaborating with key partners such as the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security (GEMA/HS). Interstates and state routes are prioritized to keep clear and passable, especially for emergency vehicles. This year’s winter season in Georgia is expected to have warmer-than-average temperatures and average precipitation according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
During winter weather events, Georgia DOT urges motorists to buckle up, use caution, minimize unnecessary travel and reduce travel speeds especially in the overnight hours to ensure that Georgia DOT crews have room to treat and clear roadways. Motorists are encouraged to keep an emergency kit which includes a snow/ice removal brush, cat litter to help with traction, an extra blanket, a first aid kit and snacks in their vehicles. For the most up-to-date travel information, visit www.511ga.org or call 511 to stay informed, and follow Georgia DOT’s social media channels for additional updates.
For more information on Georgia DOT’s preparations as well as tips and additional resources, please visit the department’s winter weather page.
Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Georgia DOT and its nearly 4,000 employees are committed to delivering a transportation system focused on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility. The Department’s vision is to boost Georgia’s competitiveness through leadership in transportation