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Behind WVDOH: The steps it takes to clear the roads during winter storms

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 11:15 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Even after the preparation, the snowfall that began Thursday evening still had Department of Highway workers out on the streets.

“We’re ready to put the salt out and treat roads and keep the snow off,” WVDOH District 4 Headquarters engineer, Mike Cronin said.

Before even considering salt and before the snowfall, District 4 used what’s called brine, it’s a combination of water and salt that is put down to help reduce adhesion of snow and ice on the roads.

However, just hours into the storm, trucks were already out with salt, and Cronin said they have a plan in place.

“Temperatures are supposed to drop. If it gets down to 18 or 15 degrees, we’ll probably stop putting salt out and just start plowing,” he said.

District 4 said they are expecting to put out 600 to 1,000 tons of salt overnight. Their biggest focus is I-79 since it is the most traveled but they’re in charge of over 1000 miles of roadway.

“We try to hit all those roads in between where people are traveling and bus routes. If this storm goes like it says, it’s supposed to stop around 2 a.m., hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have the roads clear so people can go to work,” Cronin said.

Even if clear roads come into fruition, Cronin advises drivers to take precaution and be extra careful in work zones.

“Slow down, it’s going to be narrow and dangerous,” he said.

Most importantly, Cronin said be patient, DOH workers are moving as quickly and safely as they can, and clearing roads will take time as snow if falling quickly, so again, Cronin said stay off the roads if you can.

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