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Road Crews Are Ready For The Winter

Plus Winter Driving Tips

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Robert Moore
Herald Staff
rmoore@harrodsburgherald.com

State and local snow removal crews say they are ready and waiting for winter.  According to a press release,  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) crews are restocked with over 1 million gallons of salt brine, 1 million gallons of calcium chloride and 340,000 tons of salt.

The state has more than 1,400 plow trucks on deck, and more than 2,000 staff and crew members trained and prepped to keep travelers moving.

“We are ready for winter,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said in a press release. “Our crews work long and hard, year after year, to keep our roads as safe as possible. This year is no exception. We are grateful for our team of dedicated men and women who work on the front lines in hazardous conditions to keep fellow Kentuckians safe and commerce moving.”

Todd Palmer, director of the Mercer County Road Department, said the county, which also provides road salt for the City of Burgin, has over 2,200 tons of salt in the barn.

“We’re prepared for the winter,” Palmer said.

Harrodsburg Public Works Director Frank Lukitsch said his department is ready for the winter as well. He said the barn is full or road salt and the city has $20,000 in reserve to purchase more “if we get some kind of wild and crazy winter.”

The 2024 Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a colder than normal winter with above-normal precipitation and snowfall.

“The coldest spells will occur in late December, early January, and late January through mid-February,” according to Almanac.com. “The snowiest periods will be in late December through mid-January and late January through mid-February.”

Last January, the big news weather-wise was not snow but a tornado. On Jan. 12, 2023, an EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 100 miles per hour touched down in Mercer County, with damage reported on Hunter Drive, Oakland Lane and Cornishville Road. The tornado felled trees, tore the roofs off houses and barns and flipped over bleachers at Kenneth D. King Middle School. The storm peeled back part of the outer roof of the Mercer Area Family and Wellness building, formerly the YMCA, and damaged transformers on College Street.

KYTC maintains most roads, streets and bridges that are part of the State Highway System, including interstates, parkways, and U.S. route designations.

Winter Driver Tips

Safe roadways are a shared responsibility, especially during inclement weather when risks increase. Motorists, too, need to prepare for winter and remain safe by following these tips:

• Travel only when necessary during major snow events.

• Stock vehicles with ice scrapers, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, a cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks and a first aid kit should you get stranded on the road.

• Winterize your vehicle. Check your car’s battery, tire pressure and brakes. Ensure your heater, defroster, headlights and windshield wipers are working properly.

• When snow and/or ice are on roadways, drive slowly, no matter what type of vehicle you drive. It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in poor weather, so brake early and slowly.

• Pay attention to weather advisories and allow more time to travel for routine commutes.

• Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shaded areas. These are all candidates for developing black ice—a thin coating of hard-to-see clear ice that can form on the pavement surface.

• Maintain a safe distance from snowplows and other heavy highway equipment, and do not pass snowplows on the shoulder.

• Know before you go. Download the free WAZE app or visit goky.ky.gov to check traffic conditions before you travel. The map also offers access to select traffic cameras on interstates and parkways.

• Buckle up. Phone down! Eliminate distractions while driving.

Visit snowky.ky.gov for snow and ice resources, like priority route maps, tips and highway district updates.

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