GDOT commissioner: ‘All hands on deck’ for winter storm

The state's top transportation official says he's confident the Georgia Department of Transportation can handle the winter storm that's barreling down on Atlanta. But he said it may take some time to clear every road in the region.

GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning the department has brought 200 employees from southern Georgia to supplement the staff already available to treat and clear state and interstate highways.

“This is an ‘all hands on deck’ situation,” McMurry said. “This is a very big storm. It’s going to take some time to cover that much territory.”

The National Weather Service expects two to four inches of snow to fall on the region beginning this afternoon.

GDOT began treating metro Atlanta roads with 100,000 gallons of brine Thursday night. The agency has 1,939 employees on call for this weekend's storm. It also has 54,030 tons of salt statewide, 65,460 tons of gravel and 385 pieces of snow removal equipment that can be deployed.

McMurry said he learned at an 8 a.m. briefing that temperatures are going to be colder than originally expected this weekend. That will pose a greater challenge to crews trying to keep wet highways from freezing.

He said GDOT will probably have to clear many roads more than once. After they’re cleared, crews will retreat them with brine to prevent icing.

McMurry urged area residents to stay home this weekend. But he expects Monday morning’s commute to be fine “unless something greatly changes.”