Is Kentucky ready for winter? KYTC preps for snow season response

As temperatures start to drop and December rolls around, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has started planning for the snow and ice season ahead. Nearly 2,000 frontline crew workers have been trained, 1,024 plow trucks serviced, and 375,000 tons of salt stocked to respond to the winter weather across the Commonwealth.

This year, the state’s snow preparedness plan had to factor a global pandemic into its strategy. State transportation crews are doing the best they can to keep workers safe and making plans to quickly adapt if entire crews are impacted by COVID-19, KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said in a news release.

Healthy at work guidelines will be implemented and maintenance facilities will remain closed to reduce public exposure. But with increased sanitation guidelines and procedures, possible delays in snow and ice treatment are always a possibility.

“We ask Kentuckians to partner with us by paying attention to weather advisories, limiting trips during poor weather conditions, and showing our crews grace as we make necessary adjustments brought on by the pandemic,” Secretary Gray said.

Kentucky’s snow response system

KYTC uses a three-tier system to prioritize treatment to state-maintained routes. This system takes into account traffic volume, connectivity and access to essential services like hospitals. During routine snow clearance, KYTC uses a priority map to identify the best routes for efficient use of equipment and resources.

In the case of severe winter storm events, KYTC has an emergency action plan for each county that instructs crews to cover the highest priority routes.

Alongside KYTC and Secretary Gray, Gov. Andy Beshear has called for a connected and committed response to ensure Kentuckians stay safe and roads are clear this winter.

How to practice safe driving this winter

  • Travel only as necessary during major snow events. Stock vehicles with ice scrapers, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks and first aid kit should you get stranded on the road.
  • Winterize vehicles. Have your car battery, tire pressure and brakes checked. Make sure 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’re in. It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in poor weather conditions, 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 clear ice that can form on the pavement surface that may be difficult to see.
  • 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.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving (e.g. using phone and eating).

For more information and winter weather updates please visit: snowky.ky.gov.

Hayley Robb

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