Sentinel-Echo.com

January 29, 2013

Ice causes problems for road crews

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The phones of state and county road crew offices were buzzing Friday morning as citizens tackled icy roads throughout the county.

Road crews with both the county and the state were encountering their own problems for crews trying to clear the roads for motorists to travel to work.

Jonathan Dobson with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Manchester office said state crews went out around 5 a.m.

“We tried to get ahead of the storm,” Dobson said. “We went out Thursday night but the temperatures caused the precipitation to freeze as it fell. This morning (Friday) we went out and did re-applications of salt as the weather began to break.”

However, Dobson said with temperatures falling below or staying at the freezing mark, treacherous traveling conditions would occur again on Friday night.

“Whatever moisture is on the roads will freeze again,” he said.

With the Manchester district office having eight counties to cover, Dobson said state crews were busy throughout Friday morning. One advantage, however, was that many persons stayed home until road crews could spread salt over the icy roads.

“The public let the road crews do their work, then they got out,” he said. “That is always a big help. The school districts that had foresight to cancel school was a big help to our crews.”

Dobson did say the icy conditions on Friday morning resulted in some state trucks running off a slick road and having to be pulled out of a ditchline.

“We had a few trucks in the ditch but there were no incidents of damage. We just had to pull them out,” he said.

“When ice comes, it doesn’t matter what you drive — whether it’s a four wheel drive or front wheel drive or regular car,” he added. “On ice, you can get out of hand very quick and in these conditions, the driver has to adjust his tactics.”

County road crews faced the same dilemma as state crews, traveling throughout the winding, curvy passageways on ice early Friday morning.

County Road Supervisor Roy Henson said a county truck ran off the roadway into a ditchline and had to be pulled out due to icy roads.

“We’ve been out in most of the areas (of the county),” he said. “The hills are rough. We had some trucks that had to turn around and even go backwards down the hills and spread salt.”

Some of their efforts also involved spreading a mixture of salt and sand  and even mixing a fine gravel mixture in with that.

“It’s been a mess,” Henson said.



njohnson@sentinel-echo.com