UPDATE: The Mobile County Commission announced that it can no longer safely maintain county roads because of dangerous ice buildup and is notifying the public that the county’s roadways are unsafe for travel.
“We strongly urge all motorists to stay off the roads because of this extreme weather,” said Mobile County Commission president Merceria Ludgood. “The roads are no longer safe to travel and we anticipate that road conditions will worsen through the night and into the morning.”
EARLIER TODAY: Mobile County moved out in force to keep bridges clear of ice during the day Tuesday, deploying about 800 tons of sand, 24 dump trucks and six sand spreaders, and various back-up equipment. By mid-afternoon, conditions worsened considerably.
“Our road supervisors tell us the conditions on the road are deteriorating very rapidly now,” said Mobile County Commission president Merceria Ludgood about 4 p.m. Tuesday. “The roadways are getting very slushy now and starting to ice up. People need to get home and off the roads as soon as possible.”
By 3 p.m. Tuesday, the edges of the bridges showed signs of icing, meaning that the sand was doing its job in de-icing the roadway. But it indicated that the roadways would be next to begin building potentially treacherous coats of the frozen precipitation.
Road crews put in long hours, starting with a 10-hour day on Monday, followed by convoys of sanding trucks covering the county from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. this morning. The crews will continue to work the roadways until they become iced over and will roll out again tomorrow, as conditions permit. Many of workers will bunk down at the work camps, if time allows tonight.
Mobile County Public Works acquired as much sand as possible for the job. It started with its own sand pit and eventually turned to private industry to purchase sand that could be heated and dried before application to the streets. Mobile County turned to Hosea O. Weaver & Sons Inc. and Mobile Asphalt Co. for supplies of the material.
Mobile County will announce any road closures due to poor driving conditions as they occur. No roads have been closed as this time, although crews are paying particular attention to roads in the northern part of the county where conditions are changing the fastest.
“Conditions are expected to be very bad tomorrow morning and the county is urging extreme caution for all motorists,” said Ludgood.