MoDOT treating roads ahead of the first anticipated winter storm of the year

MoDOT crews pre-treated roads on Thursday ahead of the anticipated winter storm (Kyreon Lee/KRCG 13).

The skies were clear and sunny on Thursday, but expected to change on Friday.

A Winter Storm Watch was issued by the National Weather Service early Thursday morning ahead of the first winter storm of 2019.

With heavy snow of 4-7 inches and light freezing rain or sleet accumulation in the forecast on Friday, MoDOT started to treat roads on Thursday morning.

MoDOT Maintenance Supervisor for Columbia and Boone County, Rich Skelton said crews have been out since Thursday morning treating bridges with liquid salt that is made with beet juice and salt brine.

"The rest of the crew is getting trucks together, checking them over, making sure plow blades are good, spreaders are good and everything is ready for tomorrow in case the snow does hit," Skelton said.

Skelton said 25 trucks run out of the Columbia and Boone County area.

It has been a fairly mild winter for mid-Missouri and Skelton said it's been pretty slow for treating roads this winter.

"This has been a pretty good run that we've had since November without not having any precipitation to treat," he said.

Skelton said staff will do a check of weather on Thursday evening to see how many people will need to be in. He said a maintenance crew will be in at 6:30 Friday morning. He said if the snow hits, they'll have a crew of 25 to come in to treat the roads until the snowfall ends.

Meteorologists have predicted a heavier snow and MoDOT crews have prepared accordingly. Skelton said drivers on the road with plows need to be cautious. He said it's not safe to pass plows and to stay at least 100 feet behind, so crews can drop salt safely without causing any damage to your vehicle.

"Give us plenty of room to work, take your time, slow down, with this snow we do expect it to be a heavy snow, which means there's going to be a lot of weight to it, meaning our trucks are going to be going a little slower," he said.

Highway 63 and Interstate 70 are the major highways crews take care of before handling any other spots due to it being heavily traveled. Providence, Stadium and College Avenue are also taken care of as priority due to hospitals being nearby.

Skelton said please avoid driving in the inclement weather if you can.

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