Highways workers prepare for expected snow, ice

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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va., WASHINGTON COUNTY, Oh.-(WTAP) The West Virginia Division of Highways shifted to snow removal late Friday afternoon, after spending much of morning clearing debris from Thursday's overnight rains.

But the DOH's concerns were not with snowfall, but with ice expected to precede it as well.

"It could be some severe impact for our road system," says District 3 Engineer Rusty Roten. "And as the temperature falls tonight, regardless of whether the snow falls tonight or what accumulation we get, the ice itself is a major factor for us to deal with."

Another factor: the wet roads from the heavy rains made it virtually impossible to pre-treat them as highways departments normally would before winter weather moves in.

However, both the DOH and the Ohio Department of Transportation both say they have plenty of salt on hand, for when things get slippery.

"That's not a concern at all, we have plenty of salt on hand," says Ashley Rittenhouse, ODOT District 10 Spokeswoman. "We have used more salt this year than last year, 8,000 tons more. We have seen more of a typical winter this year, as compared to last year, so we have used more salt."

The DOH, in fact, still has salt left over from last year's mild winter.

Drivers are advised to keep an eye on the plows, as their drivers are doing their jobs.

"Sometimes, our trucks can create a 'snow cloud'," Rittenhouse says. "And if you follow too closely, that can cause visibility issues."

And, if possible, don't drive during the storm unless you have to.