With winter weather predicted to hit parts of north Georgia and metro Atlanta this weekend, the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) is actively preparing and coordinating brine operations, equipment and materials readiness and staffing plans in an effort to respond to the pending threat of a significant winter weather system by treating thousands of miles of interstates and state routes across north Georgia. In addition to mustering all local resources across the northern part of Georgia, crews and equipment are being brought in from south Georgia to assist with the response.
Georgia DOT began preparations for the 2022 winter weather season in fall 2021, ensuring equipment and supplies are available and ready. Statewide, there are more than 2,000 employees on call to respond, and 1.25 million gallons of brine available with the capability to produce an additional 50,000 gallons per hour. Starting as early as 72-hours before winter weather is predicted to hit, Georgia DOT’s Emergency Response Team begins coordination of staffing to be ready to activate at least 24-hours before a storm hits.
“We are monitoring the storm closely and adjusting response plans as needed. As the forecast has evolved, it has become more likely that a significant area of Georgia will experience icy conditions as part of the incoming storm system. Ice adds a level of complexity, as well as increased danger, for our crews and motorists,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry. “We anticipate downed trees, limbs and powerlines. It is critical that motorists take this storm system very seriously and stay off the roads through the end of the event to give our crews the space needed to work.”Brine treatments will begin in the affected areas Friday morning and will continue through Saturday and into Sunday in preparation of potential freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow. Crews will prioritize treating interstates, state routes, bridges and overpasses. As the storm evolves, Georgia DOT will continue to monitor conditions and will apply additional brine as well as salt and gravel, as needed. In the early stages of treatment, motorists are asked to give GDOT crews the room and space on the roads to help ensure they can safely do their jobs. As the impacts from the storm become reality through the weekend, it will become vitally important that motorists avoid all unnecessary travel in these areas. Georgia DOT crews continue to follow safe COVID protocols as outlined by public health agencies including wearing masks, regularly sanitizing vehicles and equipment and social distancing. Please be aware of the brine trucks in your areas given they must travel 40 mph to properly apply the treatment. Pay attention to Georgia DOT trucks spreading materials and stay back a safe distance.