NJ braces for first winter storm of the season
As the first significant storm of the season approaches the Garden State, the New Jersey Department of Transportation is mobilizing its forces, preparing to do battle with Old Man Winter.
"We have approximately 2,600 vehicles that we can use statewide for an event. Our crews are prepared, they've been trained so they know what to do; we've got all of our supplies ready to go, we'll be able to do what we can with the weather and keep those roads clear and safe for the public," said DOT Spokesman Steve Shapiro.
He said after last year's challenging winter, the DOT has stocked up on road salt.
"The department has capacity of 164 thousand tons of salt, we're pretty close to that, we've had a couple of events already this winter where we've used a little bit," said Shapiro.
New Jersey faced a salt shortage last winter as the state found itself buried under heavy snowfall following several storms. In all, the state saw more than 45 inches of snow. In addition, a pre-Thanksgiving nor-easter dumped 3 inches of rain on the state, causing hazardous driving conditions as temperatures dropped.
Shapiro said the DOT is in the process of adding additional storage capacity, so they'll have another 20 thousand tons of salt on hand if it's needed later this winter.
Once the snow begins to pile up, Shapiro said motorists should use caution if they come up behind a plow or salt spreader truck.
"Stay back and allow them to do their job, cause they're out there, they're making sure that the roadway is treated, plowed and safe to drive on," he said. "They're not going to be driving more than about 30 miles an hour or so because the salt spreads too much, they're going to be driving a little bit slower for safety and it's best just to stay back, give them the room to operate."
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