Special to the Journal
TIFTON, Ga. – Georgia Department of Transportation crews were out Thursday morning treating patches of ice on roadways and bridges and will continue to monitor conditions.
A patch of ice was reported on Interstate 75 northbound just south of Exit 13/Old Clyattville Road in Lowndes County. There is still icing on the roadway system due to lower temperatures. The Department encourages motorists traveling on the interstate to use extreme caution and stay in the far right lane.
Ice forming on bridges became the biggest issue when a winter storm moved into the area Tuesday, but GDOT maintenance crews had expected bridges would be problematic and were prepared.
Dump trucks were loaded with a salt/rock mixture and fitted with snow plows Monday in anticipation of the approaching storm. Trucks were deployed as reports were received of ice on roadways and bridges. GDOT did not have to close any roads or bridges in District 4, which encompasses the counties of Atkinson, Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Grady, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, Wilcox and Worth.
From Tuesday through Thursday morning, District 4 maintenance crews had responded to approximately 130 locations to address ice issues. An estimated 400 tons of the salt/rock mixture had been used throughout the district.
“Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated employees we were able to keep our roads open and safe for the traveling public,” Tifton District Maintenance Engineer Stacy Aultman said.
Maintenance crews worked in shifts throughout Tuesday and Wednesday nights to respond to reports of ice. Other DOT employees assisted by working in the Emergency Operations Center, which was activated Tuesday and remained in operation throughout the winter storm.
“Our employees did a good job and took care of business,” District Engineer Joe Sheffield said.
District 4 also deployed 38 employees and eight slow plow/spreader trucks to the metro Atlanta area Wednesday to assist with efforts to clear roadways. The employees and equipment will remain there as long as needed.
Georgia DOT urges travelers to exercise caution and call 511 for updated information on roadway conditions before getting on the road during a winter weather event. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, including winter weather closures, reports of icing or other hazardous conditions on interstates and state routes.