Wet snow, falling just before the morning commute and in advance of predicted sub-freezing temperatures, prompted Highway District crews to mobilize early Tuesday morning.
The snow began to fall about 5 a.m., accumulating multiple inches in some areas. ACHD crews were spraying deicer and applying sand in hopes of removing the snow from the major roads before the temperatures drop later this morning, which could lead to hazardous black ice conditions.
“We’re trying to get the snow off and melted before the freeze,” said Chuck Lakey, ACHD maintenance supervisor. “We have everybody out.”
ACHD deployed some 50 pieces of equipment, mostly trucks equipped to spray deicer, spread sand – or do both.
The deicer, magnesium chloride, works well in temperatures down to around 15 degrees, which adds a time constraint to today’s work. While most major roads were pre-treated with deicer, the wet snow will dilute the effectiveness unless more is applied. The goal is to keep the snow from bonding as ice to the asphalt as the temperature drops during the day.
Sand is being used primarily around intersections, on bridges and overpasses and on hills to provide extra traction for the Tuesday’s commute.