MoDOT crews pretreating roads in anticipation of winter weather

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With nasty weather expected Wednesday, road crews across the metro are preparing the roads for whatever may come.

The barns at the snow plow facility at 18th and Indiana are filled with salt and ready to go, should snow or ice fall on area roads.

With forecasters predicting snow later in the day, snow plow drivers began their work Tuesday.

As with any snow storm that blows through the metro, MoDOT crews try to get a head start by putting down salt brine on the interstates, highways and overpasses.

The mixture of salt and water creates a barrier between the road and the snow, and makes it easier for crews to scrape it off the road once it does fall. Some cities also put down beet juice with brine as a way to keep the snow from turning to ice right away.

"It creates a barrier between the pavement and whatever material we get down whether it be snow, maybe even ice, sometimes it will work," MoDOT maintenance supervisor Chris Sholl said. "It will put a barrier down and make it easier for us to plow that snow off the roadway."

MoDOT officials say crews spent the overnight hours on standby, their trucks ready to go for when the snow does eventually fall.

MODOT also asks that you give those snow plows plenty of room on the roadways to do their job – about six car lengths – and to slow down so you can get to your destination safely.

"Give us some room," Sholl said. "Give us some room when were out treating the roads, plowing the roads. Don't get too close to us. Give us like six car lengths back, give us enough space to work and we will get you there."

Sholl also said when temperatures get lower than 15 degrees they typically won't pretreat roads.

"You don't want to pretreat the road because then it will cause a freezing effect and won't have an effect on the roadway," Sholl said. " And there might be other types of snows out there, if you get a dry snow and it blows across the roadway, we don't want to pretreat it because we don't want to stick to the ground."