The Georgia Department of Transportation has the capacity for storing 900,000 gallons of brine statewide. (AJC FILE PHOTO)

Georgia DOT to treat metro Atlanta roads ahead of winter weather

The state will begin treating metro Atlanta roads this evening ahead of a dose of winter weather expected Tuesday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has already begun applying brine to highways in the northeastern and northwestern parts of the state, according to spokeswoman Natalie Dale. It will begin treating metro Atlanta interstates and state highways at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday morning, GDOT will begin adding a mix of salt and gravel to bridges and overpasses to give vehicles better traction on potentially icy roads. But Dale urged motorists to stay off the roads to give crews a chance to do their job.

The agency is bringing crews from south Georgia to help with the work. If the winter weather comes, GDOT crews will work round-the-clock until roads are clear, Dale said. The goal will be to keep at least two lanes of traffic passable on interstates and state highways.

However, Dale said keeping the region’s express lanes open is not a priority. The state plans to close some of those lanes after Tuesday morning’s rush hour.

The preparations come five years after metro Atlanta became the butt of national jokes for Snowmageddon – when a couple inches of snow brought the region to a standstill and stranded thousands of motorists for hours.

Dale said GDOT has learned its lessons since then. In 2014, the state had no brine available to treat roads. Today, it has a capacity of 900,000 gallons statewide.

“We also need people to reach back into their mind and remember the lessons they learned during Snowmageddon,” Dale said. “When you’re told to get off the road, it’s for everyone’s benefit.”

The forecast does not call for winter weather during Sunday’s Super Bowl. But Dale said GDOT is working closely with the City of Atlanta and the Super Bowl host committee “to ensure we are on the same page” as the big game approaches.

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