GDOT preps for possible winter weather

GDOT preps for possible winter weather

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FOX 5 Storm team location at noon (red dot), Thursday, January 17. FOX 5 Storm team location at noon (red dot), Thursday, January 17.
ATLANTA -

Wet roads after a top concern for Georgia transportation officials. The Georgia Department of Transportation employees said that rain-soaked roads and falling temperatures could produce dangerous driving conditions for Friday morning's commute.

They have 1,900 employees on standby. Crews began coming in at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and will work staggered shifts through the night.

"We will have limited crews coming in and then in the deepest hours of the night is when we really will have full staffing so they are here and available to work until the situation is gone," said Jill Goldberg of the GDOT.

Goldberg said that they are concerned about trees potentially coming down under the weight of ice or snow.

Also of particular concern are bridges and overpass which freeze quicker, GDOT officials said.

"We'll have some folks out looking at those bridges that are up high, and some of those elevated ramps, just keeping a real close eye. That's where's it's going freeze if it's going to," said GDOT's Mark McKinnon.

They have recently opened 11 new salt barns, including one at Spaghetti Junction which brings de-icing materials to more central locations.

"They are very strategically located, such as the one by Spaghetti Junction. We know that has problems a lot because it is elevated...it's very high up there. Lots of roads coming together and they're all getting air circulating around them," said Goldberg

Goldberg says high elevations and bridges are the first spots to likely form black ice.

GDOT officials urge drivers to check conditions before hitting the road on Friday.

"We highly recommend that people don't get out until it is lighter and you can see. Black ice is very dangerous," Goldberg.
    
GDOT takes care of interstates first, then heavily traveled state highways on down. A good rule of thumb, if you see something that looks wet assume it's ice, especially during the early hours of Friday's commute. They say if they have to treat the roads, they plan on using a mixture of liquid and solid salts. They say they hope the new concoction will cause ice to melt quickly.
    
"I don't think it's going to be that bad. You know people around here can't handle any kind of bad weather, so," said driver William Reed.

GDOT says motorists should be aware of potentially dangerous situations:

·    Bridges, as black ice forms there first and can reform quickly

·    Highest elevations in North Central and Northeast Georgia

·    Fallen trees, with root systems weakened by drought and saturated by recent heavy rains, the potential exists for  strong winds to cause trees to fall onto or adjacent to roadways

·    Traffic signals not operating because of power outages

·    High profile vehicles, as they can be difficult to control in high winds

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