The Alabama Department of Transportation has all hands on deck as a rare winter storm moves into and across the Gulf Coast.
Crews have been preparing for winter weather and stocking up on supplies to keep potential drivers safe.
“It’s not our intent to close any roadways or bridges, but if the conditions get that the bridges are impassable and not safe for the public — we will go ahead and close them,” said ALDOT Assistant Regional Engineer, Matt Ericksen.
ALDOT employees spent Monday afternoon moving trucks of sand to various known troubled areas and placing electronic signs along state highways and bridges as a precaution.
ALDOT representatives said once they learn of an iced road or dangerous area, they will dispatch crews to spread sand across the roadway and take the necessary precautions to alert the public.
“We’ll pre-position our materials at I-165, Cochran bridge, Dolly Parton. Historically the BayWay has not froze over but our tunnel offices are right there anyways,” said Ericksen.
Transportation officials said bridges tend to me some of the most dangerous roadways since heat escapes from both the top and the bottom, aiding in the collection of snow and ice.
Crews insist that drivers should avoid travel if at all possible, adding that just because a road has sand does not make it safe.
“We just have to put it out there for emergency vehicles and people who need to get to and from work,” said Ericksen.
Motorists are encouraged to monitor local news for information on weather conditions and frequently check road conditions and travel advisories. To report traffic crashes or other emergencies to state troopers, motorists with cell phones may dial *HP (*47) toll‐free.
If driving becomes necessary, motorists should use caution and remain alert for work zones, highway maintenance personnel and emergency vehicles. Motorists also are reminded to obey Alabama’s “move over” law.
In addition, state troopers offer the following tips to help ensure safe winter travel:
- Avoid travel, if possible, when icy or other extremely hazardous driving conditions develop.
- Keep vehicles in good operating condition. Check antifreeze levels and use windshield washer
solution suitable for freezing weather conditions. Keep gas tanks at least half full.
- Remember weather and roadway conditions may change quickly. Adapt speeds to existing roadway conditions, and be alert to changing weather and the possibility of icy, slippery roads.
- Pay particular attention to bridges and overpasses, which have a tendency to develop extremely hazardous “black ice.”
- During inclement weather, turn on headlights and windshield wipers, and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles.
- Keep blankets, a first-aid kit, a charged cell phone and other emergency supplies in your vehicle.