ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal has asked Georgians to stay off the roads today and tonight to allow the Georgia Department of Transportation continue to work on keeping drivers safe.
GDOT Crews have been on roadways since Thursday night treating the busy highways. The treatments seemed to be working for motorists making an early escape on the interstates during rush hour, but roadways quickly became slick once the cold of night began to set, and a continual snowfall has made some of Atlanta's less-traveled streets icy.
GDOT said they have dispatched crews to some of the slick spots to retreat the roadways. They also began plowing Interstates 78 and 85 at the north end of the Perimeter.
They are asking motorists to stay off the roadways until the temperatures climb and the sun begins to come back out.
Drivers should also be cautious on any bridges and overpasses, as the air underneath these roads allow them to freeze quicker.
The Georgia Department of Transportation said they did have a big area of concern in Carroll County. Officials said around 8:30 p.m. Friday, a tractor-trailer got stuck climbing a hill along Interstate 20 near Highway 27 due to the slick conditions.
GDOT crews were dispatched to the area to sand down the roadway to allow for truckers to be able to climb the grade, but it caused traffic to back up to Alabama for several hours.
The Georgia State Patrol was also called in because many of the truckers had been parked so long, they decided to get a few hours of sleep, according to officials. Once troopers got the drivers up, the congestion quickly cleared.
GDOT started using a saltwater brine mixture to pre-treat the pavement in 2015 after a massive snow event the year before stranded hundreds of motorists from I-75 to I-85 to I-20.
"We have about 550,000 gallons. In this room alone, we house 200,000 of brine," said GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale speaking Friday morning to FOX 5 News from one of their facility in Forest Park. "Now, we already did routes yesterday from about the Macon area north really, to the northern part of the state with brine, so we have used up about half of our stockpile here so we're here busy today reloading those tankers, making new brine."
According to GDOT, they have doubled their statewide brine capacity since just last winter. They also added one additional brine truck in metro Atlanta so they can focus on treating trouble spots like overpasses and interchanges as needed.
Materials by District:
- 1,938 employees on call covering 39,919 lane miles
- 54,030 tons of salt
- 65,460 tons of gravel
- 426 snow removal equipment units (one plow + spreader + truck = 1 equipment unit)
- Capacity to store 550,000 gallons of brine
- Can produce 20,000 gallons of brine per hour
- GDOT may relocate district resources to the most- needed areas during an even
District 7 metro Atlanta
- 281 employees on call covering approximately 3,000 lane miles
- 20,000 tons of salt
- 24,000 tons of gravel
- 55 snow removal dump truck units
- 2 Brine production units
- 19 Brine storage units
- 11 RWIS sensors
Law enforcement was also busy Friday thanks to several crashes on the roadway. Officials said most crashes were from motorists following too closely and not paying attention during the heavy and early rush hour.
Motorists should also prepare for the threat of inclement weather. A recent AAA survey found that one out of every three drivers does not do anything to prepare their vehicle for the winter.
"You want to be ready," said AAA Spokesman Garrett Townsend. "Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Making sure that your fluids are topped off."
Townsend also suggested that drivers put a winter weather kit in their cars that include jumper cables in case of a dead battery and sand that can be used to put down on the roadway if you get stuck in ice.