MDOT crews around the state spent the day Sunday treating roads and bridges in advance of freezing temperatures. Much of the state was subjected to sub-freezing temps as well as precipitation which caused ice accumulation on state highways and bridges.
Motorists are urged not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary. Even with the application of salt and slag roads can still have ice and be hazardous for travel.
“Our crews are treating the roads and bridges to keep them passable, but there is a limit to what can be done to treat roads when it is this cold with widespread precipitation,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “The best thing for drivers to do is to stay home if at all possible.”
MDOT crews continue to monitor conditions and with assistance from MDOT enforcement are treating bridges with salt and slag to lower the freezing point of water and increase traction.
The amount of ice that can be melted per pound of salt decreases with temperature. At 30 degrees Fahrenheit, 1 pound of salt will melt about 46 pounds of ice. At 20 degrees Fahrenheit, 1 pound of salt will only melt about 9 pounds of ice. The colder it gets, the less effective salt becomes to treat ice on a roadway.
All highways currently remain open, but motorists are strongly urged to avoid travel if possible in affected areas.
For motorists who must drive in winter weather conditions, MDOT offers these safe driving tips:
- Remember, ice will form on bridges and overpasses quicker than the road.
- Slow down; ice can be hard to see on road surfaces.
- Allow more space between the vehicles around you, especially 18 wheelers and vehicles with trailers.
- 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.
Looking ahead, winter weather conditions are expected to remain in the state all week. Stay up to date with local weather forecasts.