DOT says its working to clear roads

Highway 98 Monday morning (Chopper11 HD)
February 1, 2010 4:29:41 PM PST
Although some roads look like they haven't seen a plow or salt spreaders, others are clear and free of ice and snow.ABC11 Eyewitness News has been investigating what some are calling a slow response to the storm by the Department of Transportation.

DOT Chief Engineer Jon Nance says some of the state's smaller roads have taken a back seat to bigger roads, but he says all the major thoroughfares were clear Monday and for some that's good enough.

"I think they did a great job, the only thing in question a little bit were the ramps," one commuter said.

But others were looking for more from the state.

"It was a little slow to me, it seems like they could have gotten there a little quicker," another driver said.

However, one of the questions that linger is why DOT plows in Wake and other counties were pulled off the roads at 6 p.m. Saturday night.

Nance says it was too cold and there was nothing on the roads but unplowable ice.

"When we stop making good progress, then we stop trying to plow, because you're not removing anything off the road," he said. "We make our decisions based on operations and what we see."

But many cities in the Triangle kept on plowing through the night.

Raleigh Street Superintendent Chris McGee says his plows were effective until about 1 a.m. and when ice took over his drivers started dropping salt, despite the cold temperatures.

"Just in hopes it would give us a little bit of an edge so that when the sun came up Sunday morning, there would already be salt in place," McGee said.

McGee says that approach worked well for the city.

In the state's defense, North Carolina boasts the second most miles of state roads in the country to deal with, only Texas has more.

There are chemicals that melt ice at much colder temperatures, but a former DOT engineer says North Carolina stopped using them, because they're very expensive and very corrosive - shortening the life span of the equipment the state has.

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