NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — With the weather getting cooler across the state, North Carolina Department of Transportation crews are checking supplies and inspecting equipment to get ready for potential winter storms.
New Hanover County workers conducted a dry run Tuesday where crews familiarized themselves with snow routes and tested all equipment to ensure it was functioning properly.
NCDOT Assistant Division Maintenance Engineer Gerard Taylor says calibrating the salt spreader is a major part in preparing for possible winter weather.
“The salt spreader itself applies that salt onto the road at a certain rate,” Taylor said. “If you’re putting out too much, you’re wasting money. If you’re not putting out enough, you’re not having the accomplishment in what you want to keep that adherence to the pavement.”
All 100 North Carolina counties are conducting these drills to make sure crews and equipment are ready for winter.
To maintain 80,000 miles of roadways, the department has many pieces of equipment, including:
- 2,250 dump trucks with plows and salt or sand spreaders;
- 503 front-end loaders and backhoes; and
- 324 motor graders
As part of these drills, crews also assess the supplies of salt and sand which are essential during snow and ice removal. The department can store up to 170,000 tons of salt and sand, equivalent to about 34,000 African elephants, and more than 1.5 million gallons of brine at its maintenance facilities statewide.
Brine is a salt water mixture that helps prevent snow and ice from freezing on major highways.