TIFTON, GA (WALB) - The Georgia Department of Transportation says that a fleet of trucks and 64 employees from southwest Georgia left Tifton Thursday, headed north, to help keep the roads clear in the event of snow and ice.
A winter storm bearing down on the Southeast with the possibility of snow, sleet and freezing rain is threatening to disrupt weekend travel and bring misery to millions.
Southwest Georgia is still cleaning up tree and powerline damage left behind by storms earlier this week, while North Georgia is bracing for possible blizzard conditions.
"We stand ready to assist our partners and the traveling public to keep our roads safe and open," District Maintenance Engineer Stacy Aultman said.
South Georgia crews are set to work portions of Interstates 285 and 75 in the metro Atlanta area. They'll be operating snow plow tandem trucks and salt trucks. They'll remain in the area until the State Maintenance Office and Georgia Emergency Management Agency determine any threat of winter weather has passed.
"They're the individuals always out there, so that we make these roadways safer for our citizens," Georgia DOT Planning Director Jay Roberts said. They often work in blizzard conditions, all hours of the night. "They step up and go above and beyond the call of duty."
DOT crews are pretreating all major interstates across middle and north Georgia, spreading a salt mixture to prevent or limit the build-up of ice.
Over the years, the built up additional equipment and resources to help keep roadways clear and safe during winter storms and other inclement weather events.
Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry said, "The last few winter seasons gave us the opportunity to improve our winter weather response, even under the most unexpected conditions. As a result, Georgia DOT made a significant investment in technology, additional resources and equipment to bring us to the level of preparedness we are at today."
Georgia DOT has 1,900 employees on call with over fifty tons of salt, 65,460 tons of gravel, 450,000 gallons of brine and more than 380 pieces of snow removal equipment.