With the mixture of rain and freezing precipitation that is expected to arrive overnight, Lexington is urging commuters to use extra caution while driving Thursday morning. No accumulations are expected, but with temperatures projected below freezing, the crews will be treating bridges, hills and underpasses to ensure safe travel on local roadways.
City crews will begin reporting tonight at midnight for winter maintenance operations. “We will continue to monitor the weather and are prepared to respond as necessary,” said Rob Allen, Director of Streets & Roads.
Snow and ice removal in Fayette County is a combined effort between the Lexington and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The Lexington’s divisions of Streets & Roads, Water Quality and Parks & Recreation are responsible for snow and ice removal for approximately 1,400 lane miles of city and county roads. The state is responsible for plowing more than 800 lane miles of federal, state and county roads.
The city has approximately 4,250 gallons of salt brine, 5,000 tons of rock salt (sodium chloride) and some 4,000 gallons of proprietary chemical additive on hand. Pre-treating the roads with salt brine, salt or a mixture of salt and chemical de-icing additives it the first step in preparing for a new event.
Winter maintenance and operations planning began this past summer. “Nobody likes to think about snow in the summer, but we start preparations early to ensure we’re well equipped for winter weather when it inevitably hits” said Allen. “We hold internal meetings as well as meetings with external stakeholders such as the University of Kentucky, Transy, Fayette County Schools and Lextran to discuss our winter maintenance operations. We want to make sure we are coordinating our efforts and best utilizing our available resources.”
Lexington has also provided training and orientation for new employees on equipment, operation and routes. They have installed and checked equipment such as salt spreaders and snow plows.
The city’s snow removal plan with street and sidewalk ranking is available at lexingtonky.gov/snow.
Residents are reminded they can get information on accidents, lane blockages, snow-and-ice trouble spots and road closures through the city’s Twitter accounts (@lexwrecks and @lexkypolice). Traffic at major intersections is also available in real time through the city’s traffic cameras at lexingtonky.gov/traffic.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 7 personnel will remain on duty until midnight. Crews will be on standby to patrol and treat state routes as necessary. A new shift of employees may report at midnight to work through the early morning hours if deemed necessary. This is the first winter weather event for the KYTC snow and ice season.
Each winter event presents different challenges. The 12 counties in District 7 are evaluated individually for treatment. Air temperature, pavement temperature and the timing of precipitation are always taken into consideration.
Motorists should remember that previously treated areas may become slick as temperatures decline. Areas which typically freeze first are elevated — including bridges, ramps and overpasses. Black ice can also form on previously treated areas.
Note: District 7 includes Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Garrard, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford Counties