As storm nears, NJDOT tells drivers: Slow down, let crews work
The first big storm of the winter season is expected to overtake the region tomorrow night, bringing plenty of snow and sleet with howling winds possibly all weekend long.
According to New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro, the DOT is watching the forecast closely but in the meantime, crews are applying brine all over the state's roadways.
“Brine basically is a salt water solution that we pre-treat the roads with, and it helps any precipitation from adhering to the roadway as it starts to fall,” he says. “It’s a very effective way to help us when the storm first starts.”
Schapiro said DOT salt spreader crews will be standing by when the first flakes begin to fly.
“Whenever we get 2 inches or more of snow the plows will come out and start plowing,” he said.
According to Schapiro, the fact that this storm is coming in over the weekend should make things easier.
“Not having the volume of traffic on the roads at that time allows our crews to be on the roads to address whatever needs that they need to be out there, whether it’s salting or plowing,” he said.
Once the storm gets underway and there’s snow on the roads, the DOT is asking for New Jersey motorists to slow down and cooperate.
“When our salt crews are out and about it’s best to stay back from them, allow them to get their job done,” he said. "With a salt spreader you don’t want to be too close, because, you know, you don’t want your car getting pelted with the salt coming out.”
He added it’s also important that New Jersey drivers do not attempt to blow past salt spreaders and plows that are out on the roadways.
“They’re very focused on getting their job done and it’s hard for them to be watching out for cars speeding by them,” he said. “We’re asking everybody to be patient and let our crews do what they need to do.”
Schapiro explained the DOT divides the state into three regions- north, central and south Jersey, and within each region there are sub-regions.
“Each region has their own maintenance roads that have the plows and spreaders and they have their routes that they have their routes that they follow, they’re assigned to those areas and will work in their area,” he said.
Schapiro said DOT has approximately 450 salt spreaders and plows, “and then we have contractors, so we have another approximately 2,300 plows and spreaders that are contractors we can bring in if needed.”