In Jan. 29 Issue
Once again the Lake Cumberland area was blanketed with snow Wednesday as more wintry weather moved through the area. This prompted state, county and city crews as well as various snow removal contractors to stay busy throughout the day. Two to four inches of the white stuff caused Russell County Schools to cancel Wednesday and Thursday as classes were missed for the 14th and 15th days of the school year.
The frozen precipitation began falling in the early hours of Wednesday and continued throughout the morning hours.
Jeff Dick, a transportation engineer with the department of highways, said crews began the day at 4:30 a.m. and were out on the roads at 4:50 a.m., just as the snow began falling.
In Russell County the department of highways has five trucks with each shift consisting of seven people, five in the truck, one supervisor and one dispatcher, Dick said.
"We've used 150 tons this storm," Dick said on Wednesday. "And we've used an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 tons of salt so far this winter."
The department of highways can store 5,000 tons of salt in its Russell Springs dome. This salt is used elsewhere in District 8 as well. Rockcastle County has the only other dome in the district, according to Dick.
On roadways, graders were used after the daylight hours to clear roads just as salting commenced, Dick said.
Despite the recent snows, crews had enough of a break between storms to get equipment ready again and to replenish salt supplies, according to the state transportation cabinet.
"Our maintenance crews keep themselves well-prepared, and as usual, we will work as long as necessary to keep roadways open and as safe as possible," Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said during the winter event. "Our maintenance crews keep themselves well prepared, and as usual, we will work as long as necessary to keep roadways open and as safe as possible."
In Russell County, Dick said the department of highways has a brine generator that allows them to produce and keep on hand 10,000 gallons of the substance to use on roadways to prevent freezing and icing.
"It is basically salt water," Dick said. "We can also hold 5,800 gallons of calcium chloride." The calcium chloride is a chemical agent that also melts snow and ice on the roadways, giving highway department workers a four-pronged attack with salt, brine, sodium chloride and graders/scrapers.
The snow was heavy and wet and that made roads slick early, posing a problem for trees and power lines, officials said.
No injury accidents were reported to the local dispatch Wednesday morning, although officials there did say that they had received at least 10 calls of vehicles in ditch lines.
Several were reported in the city of Russell Springs while most of the calls seemed to be centered on the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway. There was one instance of a vehicle reported in a ditch on S. 127 toward Wolf Creek Dam.
Local law enforcement and wrecker services kept busy Wednesday helping folks out of the ditch that needed assistance. With January just now winding down, officials fear the rest of winter will continue with the theme so far, a cost city and county governments will no doubt feel on their budgets as the fiscal year moves on.