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KDOT prepares for wintry weather

Special to The Hays Daily News

The season's first winter storm is expected to blow into Kansas this week, and the Kansas Department of Transportation is preparing for whatever Mother Nature has in store.

"At this time, we are stocked up with salt and sand, ready to go," said Peter Carttar of KDOT.

But, he said, the most important element in responding to a winter storm is a well-trained maintenance force.

"There is no better way to be efficient and cost effective than to have your frontline people focus on managing resources and interacting with each other during a winter event," Carttar said. "Our maintenance staff believes in the job they do, and they have pride in taking care of their communities."

Improvements also continue to be made in the techniques and technologies used in inclement winter weather, Carttar said.

A few examples include:

* Salt brine pretreatment of bridges and certain roadways when conditions are appropriate. This works to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement, which makes it easier to remove during and after the storm.

* Road Weather Information Systems technology that uses remote sensors across the state to measure air and pavement temperatures, wind speed, visibility and pavement conditions. This gives maintenance crews and forecasters better information on conditions.

* Salt spreader control equipment in trucks to help monitor and control how much salt is being put on the road for maximum effectiveness.

* Improved weather forecast tools to assist maintenance workers in choosing the right maintenance action at the right time and to provide real-time information throughout and after a storm.

KDOT provides motorists information so they can be prepared in inclement weather as well. Call 511 in Kansas or visit on your mobile device.

"Stay off the roads as much as possible during inclement weather," Carttar said. "If you are traveling, always buckle up, reduce your speed and give our crews on the highways extra room."