MARTIN, BERTIE COUNTIES, N.C. (WITN) - As roadway preparations continue, First Alert meteorologists forecast that this weekend’s system will bring several inches of snow to Eastern Carolina’s northern counties.
North Carolina Department of Transportation crews loaded up their brine tanks Friday and took to the roadways one last time before the snowfall.
The salt and water mixture, they hope, will withstand rainfall and bond with the pavement overnight, reducing the chance of ice formation.
“It’s a little unusual,” maintenance engineer Andy Mulder said.
Mulder has been with the department for about 30 years and he says he can’t remember three weekends in a row that they had to be out treating the roads.
“Maybe we’ll get better each time,” Mulder said.
Due to the consecutive hits to the counties’ stockpiles of salt for their brine, an additional order was placed and delivered on Wednesday.
With over 100 tons of additional salt, the crews were well stocked for their treatments.
“So far we’ve applied about 20,000 gallons of brine in Martin County and close to 15,000 gallons in Bertie County,” Mulder said.
When mixed at the DOT maintenance yard to a salinity of about 23%, the brine is ready to spray on the roadways.
It aims to keep roads from freezing over for those who will need to be on the roads, like Maleek Gilbert.
“As far as we know, we have to be in for work tomorrow,” Gilbert said as he refueled his GFL truck in Bertie County. “It’s difficult, but if we have to work then we have to go get it.”
To “go get it” safely, Mulder and his team will be ready bright and early.
“We will report in around 6 a.m. tomorrow morning and begin plowing snow if there is any accumulation on the roadways,” Mulder said.
If you have to be behind the wheel this weekend, you are urged to be cautious.
“You just have to go 10 miles under the speed limit,” Gilbert said. “If not, you could be going the speed limit and have an accident.”
One concern over the pretreatment of the roadways is the forecast of precipitation. Before we see snow, we will likely see rain.
Mulder said, ”With less than a half-inch of rain and by us brining today, so near the event, we feel like we’ll have some effectiveness from the brine.”
If there are any trouble spots, there is plenty of salt left over to treat it. Mulder anticipates his crews will use around 70 tons of salt to prepare.