Jan. 8, 2014 — Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) road crews were out Sunday and through the night preparing roads for the arctic blast that blew across Kentucky.
In some areas throughout the state, including Carter County, temperatures dropped by nearly 50 degrees, turning rain into snow and creating hazardous road conditions.
“Our guys have worked around the clock since Sunday, putting in 12-hour shifts to help keep the roads clear,” said Allen Blair, public information officer For District 9, Kentucky Department of Highways.
According to Blair, the unusually low temperatures have presented challenges to road crews working to prevent ice from accumulating.
“Our standard procedure is to pre-treat roads with a salt water solution that lowers the freezing point of any snow or ice that might stick to the road. We couldn't do that this time because the storm started with freezing rain,” said Blair.
He urged caution when traveling the roadways during the cold snap, as the unusually low temperatures hampers the ability of salt mixtures to effectively combat ice accumulation.
“Salt and calcium chloride work well until the temperatures start dropping down into the teens. After that, the mixture becomes much less effective at combating the ice,” said Blair.
Ice can still form on a roadway that has been treated as well, especially when the temperatures dip into the single digits, which precisely what Carter County residents have been experiencing.
“Simply put, we are limited by the chemistry at extremely low temperatures,” said Blair.
Forecasts call for the most extreme cold to pass by Wednesday, with temperatures making their way up into the mid-30s but Blair still urged caution when driving during cold weather.
“The best way to be safe when traveling the roads this winter is to reduce distractions while driving,” said Blair.
Those interested can visit Facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9 for up to date information about which roads KYTC crews are working on.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.