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NCDOT preparing roads for winter weather in Buncombe County

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Trucks have been moving and loading nearly all day Thursday at the Department of Transportation division headquarters in Asheville.

This much activity can mean only only one thing -- winter weather is in the forecast.

Initially, forecasts called for rain to move into some areas in the mountains before snow, but, as many who live in the mountains know, forecasts can quickly change.

The DOT now expects snow to be the first type of precipitation to fall, which means trucks are pretreating the roads with brine.

“We’ll be applying the brine material to the interstate and primary routes,” said Scott Killough, who is the NCDOT maintenance engineer in Buncombe County. “We just ask that you be patient and give us some space to apply the material. And then after the anti-icing material is installed, our crews will be here monitoring the weather, ready to treat the roads if we do get the precipitation that’s forecast.”

Brine is a salt water mix which helps prevent snow from sticking to asphalt or concrete.

Killough expected that treatment to happen Thursday afternoon into Thursday evening.

DOT crews will be working 12-hour shifts until the wintry weather moves out, standing by with more than 30 plows and salt trucks in Buncombe County.

Killough said if snow does fall, residents can expect roads to be treated in the same order as years past.

First will be the highways, followed by divided primary roads, primary roads, secondary roads, then finally unpacked secondary roads.

“We ask people to be mindful of what roads we’ll be treating first and what order,” Killough said Thursday. “Just be careful and slow down and be cautious on elevated areas where the temperature could decrease more and always be aware of black ice.”

Officials ask that drivers stay off the road in snow unless it is necessary.

If you do have to drive in wintry weather follow these tips:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Be sure the gas tank is full
  • Leave lots of room between you and other vehicles
  • Approach bridges and overpasses with caution
  • If you start to slide, take your foot off the gas pedal

It also is a good idea to keep an emergency kit with you. Basic items is a winter weather kit include:

  • Phone charger
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire chains
  • Flares
  • Bag of sand/kitty litter
  • Shovel/ice scraper/snow brush
  • Tow rope
  • Blanket
  • Warm clothing
  • Flashlight
  • Water/snacks

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