Nevada road crews preparing for winter snow removal
November 3, 2017
As rain and snow is forecast in Northern Nevada, the Nevada Department of Transportation is prepared to help keep roads clear.
“Keeping drivers safe and connected is our top priority,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon explained. “And, as we are every year, we are fully stocked and prepared to remove snow and ice and help keep state roads clear.”
NDOT begins annual winter preparations in August by readying more than 80 snow plows and other pieces of snow and ice equipment for use in snow removal across northwestern Nevada. Approximately 40,000 cubic yards of salt and sand has been stockpiled in the area, ready to be spread on winter roads for increased traction and safety. The sand is combined with salt and wetted with brine to create more dense sand that keeps roads ice-free at lower temperatures and will not as easily bounce off roadway surfaces. NDOT sand trucks calibrate the amount of salt and sand, spreading the mixture on roadways with extreme precision and efficiency.
“Drivers will also see our NDOT vehicles spraying a liquid brine on the roads prior to certain snow storms,” NDOT Assistant District Engineer for Maintenance Mike Fuess explained. “The brine is a water solution of 23 percent salt that we produce in-house at a substantial cost savings. Sprayed in certain conditions before storms, the brine helps reduce how quickly the ice forms and sticks to the road.”
“Stormwater maintenance is also an essential element of NDOT winter preparations,” NDOT District Engineer Thor Dyson said. “Keeping our roadside drainage and culverts clear of debris helps to minimize ponding, which enhances safety and helps to maintain road integrity, as well as keeping pollutants out of our waterways.”
NDOT has approximately 150 permanent maintenance staff in northwestern Nevada, and routinely has open job positions for permanent and temporary highway maintenance workers to help keep winter roads clear, including snow plow and anti-icing operations and assisting in highway emergency response. As storms move in, maintenance personnel closely monitor professional meteorological forecasts detailing wind, rain, snow, ice and other weather on state roads. Staff also utilize more than 30 Road Weather Information System meteorological stations located along northwestern Nevada roadways to provide detailed reports of current air and pavement temperature, as well as any moisture. The updated weather readings help pinpoint precise sections of roads needing brine, salt and sand or snow removal.
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During major winter storms, crews work in 12-hour shifts, rotating personnel to provide 24 hour-a-day snow removal.
WINTER DRIVING SAFETY
NDOT says on average, more than 2,000 crashes occur statewide every year due to unsafe driving in snow, ice and other wet conditions, such as driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, or failing to maintain a lane and over-correcting. In winter weather, motorists are reminded to drive slowly for conditions and leave space between their vehicle and others. Wearing a seat belt and focusing on the road are other important driving tips for any type of weather.
Updated state road conditions, from winter road closures to traffic and road incident information, are available by dialing “511” or logging on to nvroads.com before driving. Drivers can also check nevadadot.com to view live traffic cameras. Winter driving safety tips are available at nevadadot.com/winter.
WINTER DRIVING TIPS
Remove snow and ice from all vehicle windows, mirrors and lights prior to driving
Only travel in winter weather when absolutely necessary, and leave early to provide enough time to safely reach your destination
Slow down on winter roads — speed limits are based on road and weather conditions
Keep a safe distance from other vehicles
Watch carefully for snow removal equipment
Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, as they may be icy
Check the following before you go: Tires, brakes, lights, battery, wipers, defroster, heater and vehicle fluid levels
Carry with you the following: tire chains, flashlight, ice scraper, snow shovel, first aid supplies, extra clothes/gloves, blanket, flares and non-perishable food/water