REALITY CHECK: Traffic nightmare: Why ALDOT didn't pre-treat roads ahead of storm
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
It was a nightmare commute Wednesday morning for drivers. The Bayway shut down for ten hours due to dangerous ice, leaving only one way from Baldwin to Mobile County. But could it have been prevented?
While ALDOT crews spread sand on area bridges, in the north part of the state ALDOT salted the interstates from Birmingham to the Tennessee line. Areas south of that didn't get as much pre-treatment.
"Why not try to get the salt down from the north to help with the situation here," asked NBC 15's Andrea Ramey.
"It was uncertain if we were going to get any rain that would cause freezing to the extent that we saw. That forecast changed. Unfortunately, we were in a situation where we had to manage the situation with the resources that we had," said ALDOT assistant region manager Brian Aaron.
Sand doesn't melt ice. It just gives you more traction.
ALDOT doesn't keep things that do melt ice like salt brine and other chemical pre-treatments in our region, it says, because it doesn't makes financial sense to stock up for such rare events. A facility in this region would run at least six figures.
"There's a lot of cost of preparing for an event," said Aaron. "It's just one of those things, we're not used to ice in south Alabama."
ALDOT says it did use salt on area roads in the 2014 ice storm.
ALDOT says it will review its response to this storm, like materials used, and determine what, if anything, could have been done differently.