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DOT crews prepping for snow overnight

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 4:10 PM EST
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - State Department of Transportation crews in several Eastern Carolina counties are preparing for the possibility of snow later tonight.

DOT workers in Washington County on Wednesday sprayed brine solution on overpasses and bridges to prepare for hazardous road conditions, such as clear ice coating a black road.

“Water on the roadway that freezes, and you can’t really see the ice because it’s just ice, the road still looks black,” NC DOT’s Tim Hass said.

The brine is salt mixed with water that is used to treat areas before the snow falls, making it hard for snowflakes to stick on to the surface and form ice, Hass said.

“It just raises the freezing temperature on the surface, so in other words, if the freezing temperatures normally 32 [degrees Fahrenheit], it may take it down to 25, or 20 so that if the temperature is that the ice will melt.”

Bracing for snow or rain, the DOT is hoping it doesn’t rain a lot before the snow falls as that rain can wash the brine solution away.

However, the brine solution is a pretreatment that both Burnett and Hass says helps.

“If it rains a lot, that brine may get washed away by the time the precipitation freezes but this way at least, it’s there in case the storm starts as frozen precipitation,” Hass said.

“It’s just what we try to put out to help,” NC DOT’s Rodney Burnett said. “And then we would use salt on top of it and then use brine when the temperature come up to the right degree again.”

Burnett said they’re not expecting a lot of accumulation, but there will be overnight crews to monitor conditions on a county-by-county basis and address any accumulation in problem areas with plow trucks and salt spreaders.

Both Burnett and Hass reminded drivers to be careful on the roads on Thursday.

“If you’re out driving in the area after it snowed or sleeted or ice is formed to just really really slow down,” Hass said.

“Take your time, don’t be in a hurry,” Burnett said. “Be safe, that’s the main thing.”

DOT workers sprayed brine solution on all overpasses and bridges on primary routes in Martin and Bertie County on Wednesday as well.

County maintenance engineer Andy Mulder said they placed a total of 10,000 gallons of brine solution on Wednesday.

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