TDOT says they're prepared for winter weather, despite several drivers calling out sick with COVID

snow car and road
Posted at 4:53 PM, Jan 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-15 20:58:12-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Over the last 24 hours, TDOT trucks have been putting down pre-treatment on interstates and major highways, preparing for our next winter storm. "With a forecast this fluid, we also have to be very fluid and flexible with our plans," said Rebekah Hammonds, a spokesperson for TDOT.

We know that rain and snow will fall over the next few days, the big looming question will be where and in what order. If rain falls first, it could wash away pre-treatment. "The rain does make it less effective but in some areas we know that maybe it won’t rain quite as much, so we can still focus on pretreating while being also being cautious in other areas," said Hammonds.

Once all the pre-treatment is down, TDOT drivers will be on standby until the first flakes fall. "When we see that transition happen, our crews will be dispatched to start treating roads so that even if there’s rain already out there, or rain happening and we drop salt, it can kind of create its own brine on top of the roadway," she said.

If all of this winter weather isn't enough, TDOT is dealing with another unfortunate element; several of their drivers are currently out sick with COVID-19. "I don’t think we’re worried that we're not going to be able to get everything, it’s just maybe we don’t have as many people out as we would if it were all systems go," said Hammonds.

The biggest way you can help? Try to avoid traveling when the snow is actually falling. Hammonds says in our last snow event, that caused major problems for their drivers. "If there are too many vehicles on the road, we can’t plow the roads. Our trucks, multiple trucks, were stuck in traffic in standstill because they couldn’t get to the actual hazardous area on the roadway," she said.