Western North Carolina Department of Transportation crews were gearing up for the first winter weather event of the season on Wednesday.
It’s all hands on deck in WNC as emergency and road crews prepare for the rain and freezing temperatures.
“As the weather forecast seems to warrant and the warnings are issued, we start transitioning into a half of our workforce works 12 hours and the other half work 12 hours,” said N.C.D.O.T. Buncombe County Maintenance Engineer Scott Killough.
N.C.D.O.T. preparations for winter weather began in October when crews tested equipment and created a severe winter weather plan.
Most of Wednesday was spent loading up trucks with salt and hauling plows and spreaders, from Buncombe County Headquarters, to nearby N.C.D.O.T. stations.
“You know, I think we’ve done all the things we can do to be prepared for it,” Killough said. “Now it’s just pretty much, just making sure we’re in a position when those temperatures drop below freezing.”
Due to the rain, crews didn’t pretreat the roads ahead of the weather event. N.C.D.O.T. plans to keep a close eye on the highways.
“Those overpasses and elevated areas will freeze first,” Killough said. “That will be out primary concern early in the event.”
Drivers are urged to stay put, unless absolutely necessary. In the event conditions worsen, local counties are taking measures to make sure people have a warm and safe place to stay.
“We want to make sure we do have shelters available, if we need to. In case the roads are to become impassible,” Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge told 7News.