Kolluri announces winter storm preparedness
NJDOT crews armed with new materials and technology
(Trenton) - Commissioner Kris Kolluri today said that the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is prepared to clear snow and ice from roadways statewide during the upcoming winter. NJDOT has filled its salt and liquid calcium inventories, fitted its trucks with plows and is ready to deploy personnel to ensure motorist safety. NJDOT also will introduce new initiatives to prevent the formation of ice.
"NJDOT crews statewide are ready to combat winter storms by clearing our roads, preventing ice formation and maintaining mobility and safety," said Commissioner Kolluri. "NJDOT road crews are armed with new materials including pre-treated salt and brine, new technology such as the Route 80 anti-skid overlay, and extensive experience and preparation."
While visiting the NJDOT Secaucus Maintenance Yard, Kolluri explained NJDOT's annual snow-clearing procedures. NJDOT has $11.3 million budgeted for winter 2006-2007 and additional emergency funds are available should the Department exhaust its initial allocation.
Equipment and material
NJDOT is ready to deploy more than 500 trucks to plow snow and spread salt on New Jersey's 15,829 lane miles of interstate and state highways. In the event of a major storm, NJDOT will augment its forces with up to 1,265 contractor trucks. NJDOT maintains 846 regular maintenance staff and 400 trained volunteers to administer its winter readiness program. NJDOT begins the snow season with approximately 135,373 tons of salt and 551,000 gallons of liquid calcium on hand. The material is housed at 74 salt storage facilities statewide.
Highly efficient pre-treated salt
NJDOT for the first time has procured salt that is pre-treated with products that eliminate the need to apply liquid calcium chloride, thereby reducing dependence upon and maintenance of mechanized spray equipment. The pre-treated salt is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
NJDOT installed a skid resistant overlay that absorbs anti-icing chemicals and then releases them when weather conditions demand protection from the formation of ice and snow on the roadway. The overlay, installed on Route 80 in Paterson, will help prevent crashes and improve safety.
NJDOT will operate an anti-icing station on I-78 at Jugtown Mountain in Bethlehem Township, Hunterdon County. This system uses liquid potassium acetate to prevent icing conditions.
Expanded brine treatment
NJDOT will use brine solution, which is a mixture of salt and water, to prevent icing by pre-treating select segments of state highways and 25 percent of the New Jersey interstate highway system. Brine costs 64 cents less per gallon than liquid calcium chloride, saves taxpayer dollars and enables NJDOT to more efficiently clear roadways.
In order to prepare for the upcoming winter season, NJDOT on November 14 performed a tabletop exercise called Operation Checkout to practice mock strategic deployment and management of weather stations and emergency operations centers.
Weather monitoring stations
NJDOT maintains 32 remote weather stations along the state highway system that help keep crews informed of road conditions. These stations provide detailed information on weather and road conditions in specific regions of the state including air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction and road and bridge surface temperatures.
NJDOT partner agencies
NJDOT's partners at NJ Transit, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority are working with NJDOT to maintain safe conditions during the winter months. NJ TRANSIT has inspected over 750 switches and switch heaters, overhead wire systems, 12 moveable bridges and wayside power at storage yards and terminals. Rail mechanical personnel have inspected and winterized 900 rail cars and 100 diesel locomotives. Bus maintenance personnel have checked the heating systems, engine fluids, tires, windshield wipers, doors and airbrake systems in NJ TRANSIT's 2,100 buses. Equipment to plow snow and spread salt at such NJ TRANSIT facilities as bus garages and park-n-ride lots has also been readied for use. Two snow blowers powered by jet engines are ready to clear ice and snow from tracks and switches. Snow plows for diesel locomotives have been checked and are ready for use.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which operates the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, also is marshalling its resources. The NJTA is prepared to deploy 314 trucks using 20,000 tons of salt for the roads on the Parkway. 150 trucks using 30,000 tons of rock salt will begin patrolling the turnpike before dawn when snow is expected. 120 additional contractor plow trucks will be on call.
The South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the Atlantic City Expressway, has filled salt domes at its 3 storage locations and is prepared to fuel and load at least 45 vehicles with salt and chemicals.