NCDOT crews prepare Charlotte-area roads for weekend winter storm – WSOC TV


CHARLOTTE — Governor Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency in North Carolina ahead of the winter storm en route.

Charlotte crews have over 2,000 miles of highways, bridges and roads to deal with.

>> We want to see what’s happening in your neighborhood. You can submit photos and videos as the storm hits, directly on the home page of our application.

At the North Carolina Department of Transportation worksite in northwest Charlotte, crews were active all day Friday. Channel 9 reporter Joe Bruno even struggled at the press conference they held on Friday morning – it was hard to hear because of equipment and lorries coming and going, all preparing for the snow and ice event.

NCDOT officials said brine operations would continue until late Friday evening.

Crews will return Saturday at 9 a.m. and work 12-hour shifts.

For more information on tips from North Carolina officials to prepare for winter, click here.

Many industries are currently impacted by COVID-19 and the NCDOT is no exception. The department is calling on contractors and workers from other departments to help.

On Friday afternoon, the NCDOT reported that six workers were absent due to COVID-19. But leaders have said every year that they have something to sort out, whether it’s personnel or equipment issues.

So if it takes a little longer to clear the roads this year, COVID might be to blame. The state is bringing in workers from other departments to be part of 133 crews using 288 trucks to tend more than 2,000 miles. They plan to use up to 125,000 gallons of brine on Charlotte’s roads.

“Our response may not be as fast as what you’ve seen in the past,” said NCDOT spokesperson Jen Thompson. “But we are doing everything we can and putting all available and healthy hands to clear the roads and deal with them, and we are not going to diminish our efforts until we have cleared all the roads.”

On the city side, emergency management says all is well, but asks people to keep in mind where we live and how we deal with snow.

“I hear people say ‘we don’t have winter weather in Charlotte’ – yes, we do,” said Emergency Management Chief Robert Graham. “If this has happened in the past, there’s a 100 per cent chance it will happen again.”

At the West Charlotte Walmart, residents were taking the storm seriously. Jeanester Banks said people were pulling everything off the shelves.

“They’re coming for the drugs like we’re never going to open again,” she said.

Bobobo Mongo made a last-minute run for kitty litter and said he was ready to lock himself inside for the weekend.

“Probably just stay inside and relax. Find something good to eat and watch a movie or something,” he said.

The NCDOT told Channel 9 it was focusing its pretreatment efforts on highways in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties, and the Monroe Highway in Union County. State forces are applying brine to other bare roads, including four-lane divided main roads, then moving to secondary roads. Brine, a solution of water and 23% salt, is used to pre-treat pavement in dry conditions when the temperature is above 18 degrees and can be applied up to 48 hours before a storm.

Secondary roads

“I’m just waiting for the sun to come up a bit just to be safe, especially getting out of the neighborhood because the roads in smaller neighborhoods tend to be bad,” said Indian Trail resident Rodney Noriega.

Local streets are the responsibility of each municipality, county or private property owner.

Noriega plans to stay off the roads this holiday weekend unless driving is necessary.

“Drive slowly because it’s dangerous,” he said.

[Bread and milk: Why do we buy those foods before a storm?]

City of Indian Trail public works crews will be salting major culverts, bridges and city-owned streets.

Staff will be on call to assist first responders during the storm and crews will focus on cleaning streets.

“My biggest fear is people who don’t know what to do when people lose control of their car, maybe they’re going too fast, or maybe they don’t know how to take a turn or don’t know not the ice,” said Eric Griggs, who now lives in Indian Trail.

In the City of Monroe, the street department prepares secondary roads for possible ice accumulation.

Workers will closely monitor high traffic areas and potential hotspots. Crews will focus on these areas and respond as needed.

(Watch video below: Road crews are working around the clock in Gaston County to prepare for the storm)

(WATCH BELOW: Duke Energy braces for winter storm)


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