BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — Across the region Friday, DOT crews are out in full force, treating major roadways ahead of the winter storm.
The crews are putting down a solution of salt and water, called salt brine, that helps prevent ice from bonding to the road.
Our News 13 crews were on hand Friday morning when Buncombe County crews set out to work on the roads. DOT officials say they are brining Friday while roadways are dry, so the liquid can bind to the road and it also buys some time for de-icing materials to kick in next, and melt whatever falls.
“Our materials work well in the mid-20s, they seem to really take care of the road. And the roadway temperatures have been warm this week - we’ve had a couple warmer days and sun. I think that will aid us some in getting it off the road,” says Buncombe County NCDOT maintenance engineer Scott Killough.
Drivers are being alerted about the brining process today through message boards above the interstates.
It’s also important that drivers increase their following distance because the DOT trucks will be traveling slower than the posted speed limit.
DOT officials say all crews in our mountain counties are either applying brine to the roadways Friday or the roads have already been treated earlier in the week when the last winter weather event moved through.
In Buncombe County, drivers can expect this process to continue until around 7 p.m. Friday evening.
Transportation teams from Murphy to Mount Airy will all be working around the clock to keep interstates, highways and state roads as safe as possible before, during and after this early winter storm.
Crews in the elevated mountains — from Madison to Wilkes counties — started clearing various amounts of snow and ice on Tuesday from a separate storm. Crews have been working around the clock to clear and treat those roads before this next major storm. They have spread more than 815 tons of salt and 575 tons of a salt and sand mixture.
Maintenance teams in all western mountain counties have been preparing for winter events since October when they filled storage facilities with salt and sand, tested all equipment and inspected the routes they’ll clear this weekend.
To help support teams in the likely direct path of the storm, NCDOT will be staging equipment and personnel at critical locations across western North Carolina — such as Saluda Grade on I-26, Old Fort Mountain on I-40 and in Surry County on I-77 — in order to keep these locations passable.