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MDOT preparing for winter weather conditions

Mississippi Department of Transportation crews are preparing for potential winter weather conditions as a cold front moves through  Mississippi.

“With a winter event, MDOT bases its response from information issued by the National Weather Service (NWS),” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “Crews in areas that could potentially be affected by winter weather will be monitoring local forecasts and conditions throughout the afternoon and into the evening.”

Current weather reports show rain moving into parts of Mississippi before temperatures begin to drop below freezing. Because of this scenario from the NWS, MDOT crews will not be pre-treating roads and bridges with de-icing material as the rain will wash it from the roadway.

“There is a very narrow window in which crews can apply de-icing material to roads and bridges,” McGrath said. “If it is applied too early, traffic will wear the material off the road. The material has to have a dry surface for application, and applying it during or after rainfall renders it ineffective.”

MDOT is preparing equipment by installing salt spreaders on trucks and making sure all response vehicles are fueled and running properly. Crews are stocking salt, sand and asphalt slag piles.

To assist the traveling public in preparing for potential winter weather conditions, MDOT offers these safe driving tips.

  • Remember, ice will form on bridges and overpasses quicker than the road.
  • Slow down – should winter weather conditions become present, “black ice” can form.
  • Allow more space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  • Brake early and gently to avoid skidding, and never slam on the brakes.
  • Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a cell phone.
  • Stay alert.

“MDOT will be monitoring the weather so the appropriate response efforts can be activated if necessary,” said McGrath. “The best thing the traveling public can do to stay safe is pay attention to local forecasts and local weather advisories, and stay off the roads if they become unsafe for travel due to winter weather conditions.”

Should winter weather conditions affect Mississippi’s highways and bridges, visit MDOTtraffic.com for the most current traffic and travel information, and follow @MississippiDOT on Twitter.