Horry County SCDOT: different variables to treat icy roads - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County SCDOT: different variables to treat icy roads

Shannon Welch, SCDOT Resident Maintenance Engineer for Horry County Shannon Welch, SCDOT Resident Maintenance Engineer for Horry County
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina Department of Transportation workers were on the roads Tuesday night, trying to make sure motorists have a safe morning commute.

SCDOT engineers told WMBF News road conditions were a lot better Tuesday evening than earlier the same morning. However, engineers said they are still watching what happens overnight and early Wednesday morning.

Shannon Welch, SCDOT Resident Maintenance Engineer for Horry County, said he was out around 6 p.m. Tuesday checking bridges and highways.

"I checked Highway 22 and 701, then headed over the downtown bridge in Conway to Highway 501 to 378, then Highway 544 to Intercoastal Waterway, the bridge there," explained Welch.

Welch said crews are working 12-hour split shifts to make sure roads are driveable. "Basically tonight is monitoring and if we need to place some salt, that's what they'll continue doing through the night," Welch said.

Tuesday's early morning storm packed a punch, Welch said. "This morning was the worst with ice. We had a few [bridges] that iced over; we got salt on them and had to go back and re-shoot them at least one or two more times."

Welch said Horry County SC DOT did not pre-treat the road prior to the storm because of the rainy weather. He said pre-treating the roads would not have lessened the icy conditions experienced in some of the critical areas and bridges. 

Welch added, "Being that it rained later in the afternoon [on Monday] so much, everything was not dry; if we would have pre-treated, I mean, it may have been a waste, being that everything would have washed off."

Welch said there is a science for treating roads; it depends on several variables, like the current temperatures, and weather conditions.

"The salt brine is what we pretreat with," Welch explained. "It is just a salt and water mixture together we'll do that before anything happens."

But Welch says it's all based on what will make bridges and highways safe, and driveable.

"We'll just start applying the salt to the bridges to try to keep them from freezing, or to help melt it or break the ice a little bit; to get it to where it can be a safe driving condition," he explained. 

SCDOT said if they receive any calls from the public they will check on those areas. Also, if law enforcement sees anything in the overnight hours, they'll make crews aware of those locations as well.

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