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SCDOT employees already working to prepare for possible winter weather

Lexington County, SC 01/13/2022 (Paul Kirby) - With forecasts calling for a possible winter storm this weekend, workers of the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) are already preparing to work around the clock and use all available resources to ensure motorists are as safe as possible when traveling on our state’s roads and bridges.

“We are closely monitoring the forecast for this weekend but rest assured that SCDOT is preparing for a worst-case scenario and will begin pre-treating highways as early as Thursday, Jan. 13,” Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Even though forecasters are not sure exactly what we can expect in Lexington County and in other parts of the state, the follwoing preperation work is already underway.

Currently, the SCDOT resources already being prepared include:/

· Approximately 2,500 SCDOT employees preparing for the event.

· 60,000 tons of salt.

· Over 525,000 gallons of salt brine as well as approximately 275,000 gallons of ice breaking chemicals.

· Contracts with private companies to position wreckers along interstates to help avoid potential lengthy backups.

In a winter weather emergency, SCDOT employees follow a designated plan in each county. Interstate highways are the first priority, followed by primary routes and areas near medical facilities and emergency shelters. This is why you will see Lexington County Public Work's motorgraders being prepositioned at interstate on-ramps. SCDOT has agreements with contractors and local governments to provide additional equipment and manpower when needed.

SCDOT employees work 12-hour shifts of pre-emptive ice treatments, snow plowing, and spreading salt and other materials to achieve safer, improved road conditions.

The leadership of the SCDOT reminds drivers to avoid traveling during winter weather events if possible as snow and ice can make conditions hazardous on our roadways. If you must drive, use an all-wheel drive vehicle if you have access to one. Remember that all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive may get you going but it does not necessarily improve your ability to stop. Therefore, it is imperative that you drive slowly and cautiously and increase following distances between yourself and the next vehicle substantially if driving on snowy or icy roads.

Prepare your vehicle if you must drive. Make sure that the fuel tank is full, and you have a mobile phone that is fully charged. Put warm blankets in your vehicle in case you do get stranded as well as a fully charged flashlight. Depending upon the amount of accumulated snow or ice on the ground, if stranded, periodically check the snow or ice depth around your vehicle’s exhaust. Do not run your vehicle’s engine in the exhaust is in any way obstructed. This can cause dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide gas to build up in your passenger compartment.

Finally, if you are travelling and you see emergency vehicles or tow companies on the side of the roadway assisting another motorist, slow down and move as far away from that shoulder as possible. This will allow these workers to operate in a safe manner.

PHOTO CAPTION: SCDOT employees load a salt spreader in preparation for winter weather.


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