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State Transportation Officials Ready For Snow [AUDIO]

Flickr User Anthony Quintano

Where were you one year ago today? Chances are, you were either stuck trying to get your driveway shoveled out or waiting for a plow to come down your block to plow the streets.

December, 2010 Blizzard
Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ

The great dig-out was underway from a huge post Christmas 2010 blizzard. This year, it’s bone dry with the exception of some rain. However, although we’ve had a mild winter thus far, the State Department of Transportation is ready for anything ol’ man winter throws our way.

The winter of 2010 was a major lesson for many of us. The state DOT has been in storm preparation mode since early September as a precaution. Spokesman Tim Greeley says this year, they plan to use a number of new tools including GPS technology in their trucks and they plan to be in standby mode at all times.

  • INTERVIEW: Eric Scott talks to DOT Commissioner Jim Simpson about being ready for winter.

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Greeley says “we had a crazy time last year but the roads got cleared. It’s our number one priority in the department to have things keep moving. We take that duty very seriously.”

The agency has identified a pool of 1,500 employees and volunteers from other state agencies to draw from to drive trucks, load salt and provide other support services during winter operations. The number of people called in will depend on the severity of the storm. They would be assigned to 76 separate crews statewide. Private contractors supply drivers for their trucks so another 1,300 workers can be called into action at any given time.

Current NJDOT stockpiles include:

153,000 tons of rock salt

618,000 gallons of liquid calcium

116,000 gallons of brine

Liquid calcium is used to coat rock salt and improve its effectiveness in melting snow and ice. Brine is sprayed on road surfaces prior to a storm to start melting snow as soon as it hits the road. Brine is also used in the same manner as liquid calcium, to treat rock salt and improve its effectiveness. The Department will use liquid magnesium chloride on a trial basis at a few locations in place of liquid calcium. The magnesium solution is less corrosive to metal bridge structures and is expected to work as well as calcium at all but the lowest temperatures.

Materials are housed at 70 storage facilities statewide, including 49 domes and 21 sheds. Trucks and other equipment used to fight snow are stored at 68 maintenance yards statewide.

This season, the DOT has allocated $10 million for storm costs with supplemental funds. Last year, a whopping $48 million was spent.

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