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Ga. Dept. of Transportation prepares for winter driving

1:01 AM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The Department of Transportation can rattle off its statistics. 25,000 tons of salt. 36,000 tons of aggregate. 1,900 people on call.

But all folks in Atlanta really want to know is if the plan in place will protect them from black ice, during their morning commute.

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"There has to be an awful lot of communication and monitoring of it. We of course have all of our operators from E911 out there, as well as all of our cameras out there, and they will all be monitored closely," said DOT spokesperson Jill Goldberg.

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The DOT will have a chance this winter to put into practice several lessons learned from the 2010 ice storm that left roads littered with hundreds of accidents.

They built salt barns, strategically located around metro Atlanta, to allow trucks to refill faster. They've acquired a mobile brine maker to hopefully speed up the melting process and will try out a new solution this winter that should treat bridges and overpasses better after heavy rains.

All that's left are the crews, which have been told to come in late, rested and ready for the long night ahead.

"What we want to do is make sure they can work a full overnight shift and be available when it could potentially be the most hazardous on the roads," said Goldberg.

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Forsyth was also one of several counties to meet on Thursday for a weather briefing, giving police, public works and school districts a chance to ask questions.

"In times of potential inclement weather communication is critical," said Forsyth county spokesperson Jodi Gardner after the meeting in Cumming.

She says ice isn't the only concern with this storm.

"We've been under drought conditions and have received some heavy precipitation recently so there's potential for trees that have weak root systems to potentially be falling on roadways and power lines and we'll be looking out for those," Gardner added.

Cherokee, Barrow and Fulton counties have all reported problems with trees already, blocking traffic and tearing down power lines.

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