MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Road crews in both South and North Carolina have been working around the clock making sure your drive is as safe as possible in this wicked winter weather.
As we brace for the potential of more wintry weather in the next 24 hours, WMBF News wanted to check in with our SCDOT crews to see how they're preparing, yet again.
According to both SCDOT and NCDOT, there is plenty of salt and brine to treat the roads. So you can expect them back out on the roads, especially the bridges and overpasses, making sure things are as safe as possible considering the conditions.
Steve Abbott with NCDOT says after last week's round of icy weather, they immediately stocked up on salt and started making their brine. So he knows they have enough to cover your roads. SCDOT leaders also say they have enough salt to treat properly. Shannon Welch says each time it's a little different situation, so crews have to constantly monitor the conditions very closely. Then they choose and adapt their methods accordingly.
When it comes to using brine, crews can only use it when things are dry. So once the ground gets wet or it starts snowing, they can no longer pre-treat with brine because it will get washed away.
How DOT prioritizes roads in North and South Carolina is fairly similar. The interstates are the first priority. That's because in order to get necessities into your city, like gasoline or food, these interstates must be clear for any semis. Then they'll treat or clear divided highways, then U.S. routes, then state routes, then finally secondary roads.
When it comes to shutting a bridge or an overpass down, that's a decision between DOT crews and law enforcement. If an officer on patrol notices slick or dangerous conditions, they will notify DOT, and those crews will come back out to re-treat it. If they or officers determine it's too dangerous, they will shut the bridge or overpass down. We saw that in North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday following two accidents on a slick bridge there.
If black ice gets the best of you and your car slides off the road and into a ditch, South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers say it is okay to leave it there. But it must be off the road, not impeding traffic, and no one can be hurt for you to leave it there. You need to then make arrangements for a tow truck to retrieve it in safer conditions. But, you are asked to still call *HP. That will take you straight to the patrol dispatch center. Tell them where the car is, what make and model it is, and when a tow truck is supposed to pick it up. If someone sees your car on the side of the road, thinks it's an accident, and calls 911, now patrol has records to show it is not an accident and they don't waste resources to go out there to check on an empty car. And if you're not on an interstate, just call your local police department and report the same information so they know as well.