RENO — The Nevada Department of Transportation is prepared to help maintain favorable road conditions ahead of winter weather this year.
The preparation began in August as 80 snow plows and other pieces of equipment for snow removal were prepared. Stockpiled were 33,000 cubic yards of salt and sand, ready to be put out on icy and snowy roads by NDOT sand trucks.
The sand, mixed with the salt and wetted with brine, is better at remaining on the road for a longer period of time and keeps ice off of roads for more traction on car wheels.
“We also spray a liquid brine on the roads prior to specific types of storms,” NDOT District Engineer Mike Fuess said in a press release. “The brine is a water solution of 23% salt that we produce in-house at a substantial cost savings. Sprayed in certain conditions before storms, the brine helps reduce how quickly the ice forms and sticks to the road.”
NDOT maintenance personnel monitor professional meteorological forecasts detailing wind, rain, snow, ice and other weather on state roads as storms move into the area. Fifty Road Weather Information System meteorological stations provide information on current air and pavement temperature on top of moisture levels on northwestern Nevada roads to the staff. All helps keep up-to-date readings on roads needing the sand, salt and brine spread or snow removal.
With 2,000 accidents statewide resulting from unsafe driving practices in snowy, icy or wet conditions, driving cautiously is significant among winter weather. Wearing a seatbelt and focusing on the road is recommended as always, and in winter road conditions, keeping distance from other vehicles and driving slowly on winter roads is also important.
Specifically in winter conditions, recommendations include taking any snow that obstructs vision or lights off the vehicle, as well as only traveling when necessary in winter weather. Using extra caution for snow removal equipment and on bridges and ramps is also advised.
Before driving, tires, brakes, lights, battery, wiper, defroster, heater and vehicle fluid levels should all be checked and carrying tire chains, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a snow shovel, first-aid supplies, extra clothes/gloves, a blanket, flares and non-perishable food and water is suggested.
Updated state road conditions, including winter road closures and incidents, are available by dialing “511” or logging on to nvroads.com before driving. Drivers can also view live traffic cameras and sign up for free traffic alerts for their state road commute. Winter driving safety tips are available at nevadadot.com/winter.