FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2021) – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) snowfighters are on standby throughout most of the commonwealth ready to treat and clear roadways of snow and ice. Several crews are pre-treating state routes to aid with the removal of snow expected this evening into tomorrow morning.
Much of the state is under a winter weather advisory. Temperatures may drop to the lower twenties tonight into tomorrow morning, creating the potential for slick road conditions. Motorists are advised to reduce speeds and give plows plenty of room on the roads, especially during the evening commute.
KYTC salt and snow plow crews across a wide area of Kentucky are on duty monitoring weather and road conditions and stand ready to respond.
“Keeping roadways as safe as possible is one of the most important roles of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and that is never more important than in snow and ice season,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.
“Part of the task is to get a jump on the weather whenever possible,” Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said. “Our crews are experienced. They know the usual trouble spots, and we monitor weather forecasts constantly.”
KYTC can call on nearly 2,000 frontline crews to maintain safe travel on state routes – a mission complicated by the ongoing novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
KYTC snowfighters spend several months every year training, stocking up on salt and road treatment supplies and making sure the cabinet’s 1,024 plow trucks are serviced and ready. This year, the cabinet’s proactive planning had to take into account the COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has killed more than 3,000 Kentuckians and has the potential for sidelining entire work crews.
“Snow and ice preparations begin long before the winter months and this year has been unique with a health crisis in play,” Secretary Gray said. “We’ve done our best to see around the corner by planning how to keep our work crews as protected as possible from COVID, and also how to adapt plans to cover for crews that suddenly have to be taken out of rotation because of COVID.
“We ask Kentuckians to partner with us by paying attention to weather advisories, limiting trips during poor weather conditions, and showing our crews grace as we make necessary adjustments brought on by the pandemic. This is uncharted territory and we will get through this together,” Secretary Gray said.
KYTC uses a three-tier system to prioritize treatment and snow clearing on state-maintained routes. Route designations are based on factors such as traffic volume and connectivity to hospitals and other critical services. During routine snow and ice events, crews operate using snow and ice priority route maps for maximum efficiency of equipment and materials usage. For severe winter storm events, the Cabinet has established a snow emergency plan to deploy resources within each county as needed to cover highest priority routes.
Crews will follow healthy at work guidelines and maintenance facilities are closed to the public to minimize exposure. KYTC maintains the majority of roads, streets and bridges that are part of the State Highway System. Examples include interstates, parkways and U.S. route designations.