State highway crews ready for winter

Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

With more than 19,000 tons of salt on hand, and more than 80 snow plows, salt spreaders and other equipment ready in Clinton County, as well as in the other counties that make up this Kentucky Department of Highway District 8 – Adair, Casey, Cumberland, Lincoln, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell and Wayne counties – highway crews are ready for winter weather duty.

Since October, district crews have been inspecting snow plows, calibrating salt-spreading equipment and developing snow storm response procedures to keep 4,850 miles of state roads passable during inclement weather.

“We take snow and ice response very seriously,” Chief District Engineer Bruce Neely said. “Highway safety is an essential function of the Transportation Cabinet, and our crews are prepared to meet that mandate by keeping our roads safe as possible during bad weather.”

When bad weather hits, crews are assigned 12-hour shifts to plow and treat roads using a priority system based on the amount and nature of traffic within each individual county. Priority A routes include major through routes and are those most heavily traveled. Priority B routes include other important, but lesser traveled, state routes. Other roads fall into Priority C.

While it’s the Transportation Cabinet’s goal to treat all routes within eight hours of a routine weather storm event, higher priority routes are treated within a one-to-four-hour turnaround time.

More detailed information about the Kentucky Department of Highways’ snow and ice response plans, including maps of priority routes in each county, is available online at

“The Transportation Cabinet recognizes how important roadway conditions are to Kentucky motorists, especially during winter storms,” Neely said. “That’s why our highway crews often spend long hours away from home to keep roadways clear and safe for the traveling public. We appreciate their service.”

Throughout snow season, which runs from November to March, highway response teams across Kentucky serve weekly on-call rotations. The teams monitor weather reports when snow is in the forecast and determine when to activate the state’s arsenal of snow-fighting equipment, including more than 1,000 snow plows.

Motorists are reminded to give plenty of room to plows, salt trucks and other snow-clearing heavy equipment. To be effective in dispersing de-icing material, trucks tend to travel at a slower speed. Also, snow plows may create a snow cloud which can cause a white out or zero visibility condition, so keep a safe distance away from the trucks.

Dial 511 or log on to for the latest in traffic and travel information in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. You can also get traffic information for the District 8 counties at 8.