Expected snowy weather has road crews gearing up

TRI-CITIES, TN (WJHL-TV) – With a chance of some snowy weather toward the end of the week, local road crews are gearing up for a possible long weekend.

By Friday, the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been enjoying will be just a memory and forecasts say there is a chance of some snow to go along with the much colder temperatures. Road crews in Johnson City and Kingsport are monitoring the weather and preparing equipment in case they have to get out and clear the roads.

“By Thursday, we’ll have the plows mounted, we’ll have the fleet ready to go and then we’ll just watch the weather and see when the predicted start time is.”, Johnson City Assistant Director of Public Works Mike Arsenault said, “A lot of the decision is based on when it is expected to start snowing.”

“The guys are going thru all of their vehicles, their tandems, single axle trucks, and pickup trucks, to be sure that everything we have available will be up and running and and mostly right now, we’re in a monitoring phase.”, Kingsport Streets and Sanitation Manager Ronnie Hammonds said, “As the week progresses, we’ll be checking everything more closely and by Friday we’ll be setting our shifts and see if we need to work overtime on Friday night or not.”

Last winter, Johnson City used around 3,100 tons of salt over six or seven snow events and both Kingsport and Johnson City say they have plenty on hand and can get more quickly if needed.

“We’re ready, we have in stock, right now, about 3,700 tons of salt We’ve been getting all the equipment ready, all of our truck fleet is ready to go. We have a few plows yet to mount, which can be done pretty quickly when and if snow arrives.”, Arsenault said, “We hope we have enough to cover us for this winter, but we also have a 1,500 ton reserve set up with the supplier so should it be a little worse than last winter, we’ll have the means to pick up the phone and order some additional salt, shouldn’t be any problem.”

“We have about 3,500 tons of salt on hand, we also have orders that we can get up to another 4,000 tons if needed, so right now our salt supply looks pretty good from this winter.”, Hammonds said, “We always make precautions, we always start out the year with a full supply, and then we reorder as soon as we start using salt, we’ll start reordering. We usually have about a 24 hour delivery time from Knoxville to here.”

Both cities use a liquid salt brine that is a mix of salt, water and calcium chloride. Both cities use it to coat the salt when it is loaded into the trucks to be spread out, by Kingsport sometimes uses it to pre-treat roads as well.

“We pre-treat when the conditions are right, right now there is so much rain in the next two or three days that pre-treating is not an option for us, but as winter progresses and as you know that the snows will be coming, then we will pre-treat up to about 36 hours in advance of a storm.”, Hammonds said, “We also use the same brine in conjunction with our rock salt on our roads during snow storms.”

“We make a brine with salt in it, then we add some calcium chloride to that mixture and we treat the salt as we load it on the trucks. That helps the salt work more quickly, when it lands on the ground, it actually helps keep it from bouncing as much so there’s advantages there.”, Arsenault said, “It also helps it work at a lower temperature. It’s particularly helpful so it’s particularly helpful when it is in the 20 degree range or colder. Treating it really helps it be more effective melting the snow.”

Keep an eye on News Channel 11 Weather as the week goes on to see how much snow we should expect.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s