TDOT Crews Working To Clear Roads

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 00:12:43-05

Crews with the Tennessee Department of Transportation worked through the morning to clear roads of snow and ice after a system moved through overnight.

A mix of sleet and snow began moving into the Metro area around 4 a.m. causing a headache for morning commuters. 

Even though temperatures began to rise around the same time, there was still enough snow and slush on the road to create problems.

Early Wednesday morning, numerous crashes were reported in the Nashville area. Mt. Juliet Police warned drivers of slick conditions all along Interstate 40 at mile marker 227.

Kathryn Schulte with TDOT said crews were salting and putting brine on the roadways as soon as the precipitation began.

In Middle Tennessee alone, more than 200 salt trucks are still available. For TDOT, the main priority was clearing all interstates and state routes.

Metro Public Works crews took care of prepping most city streets and secondary roads.

Road surface temperatures were still cold, which has made the morning commute treacherous for many. At one point, nearly two dozen crashes, some with injuries, were reported.

Icy conditions also closed Interstate 40 in both directions near the Humphreys-Dickson County line for hours.

Tow truck drivers told NewsChannel 5 they saw one example after another of people being overconfident on the snow and ice, and overestimating just how slick side roads could be.

A tow truck driver in Lebanon said he expected to work non-stop all day Wednesday and into Thursday as slush on the roads potentially refreezes.

"Did you see that one in the ditch flipped over? Same concept. They were probably heading toward Murfreesboro, and the way it looked to me was they were heading towards Murfreesboro and skid out, and they over corrected or something, hit that grass and started tumbling," said Corey Denson with GT Towing.

TDOT officials monitored roads all day from their Traffic Management Center on Centennial Boulevard.

Multiple cameras allow them to view the roads from just about every angle.

Work ahead of the storm started Tuesday when crews pre-treated the roads and they'll do the same Wednesday night in preparation for more freezing temps.

"We have scaled back on our crew that's on the road right now. We're giving them a chance to take a break and take a breather, because tonight as soon as temperatures drop again there will be icy spots on the road and we will have people out there salting the icy spots throughout the night," said Schulte.

She said they don't have a game plan for the rest of the week, but they will continue monitoring the roads and get crews out whenever necessary. 

Sgt. Travis Plotzer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said drivers should use extreme caution – especially on overpasses and bridges, which tend to freeze first.

He also recommended everyone keep flashlights, blankets, and a first aid kit in their cars. You should also keep your gas tank at least half full.