As Kentuckians soak in the final views of falling leaves, state transportation crews are on the lookout for the first sight of snow to spring into action. Nearly 2,100 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) staff and crew members have been preparing for months for the November launch of snow and ice season when crews are on standby to maintain travel on state routes once winter weather strikes.
Over the course of months, crews have been trained, statewide salt and road treatment supplies restocked, plow trucks serviced and contingency plans for quarantined crews finalized. A fleet of more than 1,365 state-owned and contracted plow trucks are ready to respond when the weather warrants it.
KYTC has doubled its fleet of tow plows, which can clear two lanes at once. The cabinet has eight tow plows around the state this year, up from four last winter. Two of the plows will be based in Frankfort with a KYTC strike force that can be dispatched to lend support to crews in different regions during major weather events. Tow plows are ideally suited for use on high-priority routes that have wide lanes. The Cabinet has stockpiled over 300,000 tons of salt, 1 million gallons of brine for anti-icing efforts and 875,000 gallons of calcium chloride, an additive to salt for deicing.
Safe roadways are a shared responsibility, especially during inclement weather when risks increase. KYTC encourages motorists to prepare for winter and remain safe by following these tips:
• 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).
Visit snowky.ky.gov for snow and ice resources, like priority route maps, tips and highway district updates.