Special to the Journal
TIFTON – Georgia Department of Transportation maintenance crews in southwest Georgia are ready for Leon, the winter storm predicted to move into the area late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning.Maintenance employees spent Monday attaching snow plows to tandem dump trucks and loading trucks with a salt and rock mixture. The salt melts ice and the rock is an abrasive to break up ice and provide traction for tires, Tifton District Maintenance Engineer Stacy Aultman said. GDOT’s District 4, which encompasses 32 southwest Georgia counties, held a winter weather dry run late last year.
The winter storm warning is in effect for the area from 1 p.m. Tuesday to 1 p.m. Wednesday. Forecasters are calling for light rain and sleet Tuesday evening followed by a mix of freezing rain and sleet overnight.
GDOT crews will be ready to deploy if roads begin icing.
“DOT will be monitoring the roadway conditions, along with local law enforcement. Resources will be utilized as needed to make roads passable. We encourage people to stay off the roads Tuesday night if at all possible,” District Engineer Joe Sheffield said.
Keeping the roads safe for emergency vehicles is GDOT’s first priority in the event roads begin to ice. Interstates are cleared first, and then state routes, from the most heavily traveled to the least traveled.
GDOT offers the following winter storm safety tips:
· Motorists should not pass a DOT dump truck spreading the salt/stone mixture, as stones may get kicked up at their cars and could break windshields. Please follow at least 100 feet behind DOT vehicles.
· Motorists need to be mindful of GDOT crews working to clear the snow and ice from interstates and state routes.
· SLOW DOWN to at least half your normal speed and use a low gear as you drive.
· If you come to a traffic signal that is not working, treat it as a four-way stop.
· Beware of black ice, especially on bridges and watch for fallen trees or power lines.