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DOT gears up for first winter weather of 2013


CARTERSVILLE, Ga.- The first batch of the 2013 winter weather is expected to hit Northwest Georgia late this afternoon and evening with the mountains getting some snow accumulation, and this is expected to include Pickens County. This fast approaching winter weather episode is a reminder for the state that despite the relative warm weather of the last two weeks, Old Man Winter is here and may stay for some time. For crews with the Georgia Department of Transportation in Northwest Georgia, that means the potential for long days and even longer nights keeping the roads clear and safe for the traveling public.

 In Pickens County, crews are preparing for the worst, opening the county Emergency Operations Center for this evening.


Georgia DOT workers in Northwest Georgia are busy this afternoon gearing up for this potential winter weather event. They are getting their trucks mounted and ready to respond if and when the time comes for clearing the roads from snow and/or ice. “Our road clearing crews always hope for the best, but train and prepare for the worst,” said Ken Howard, maintenance engineer at the DOT office in Cartersville. “These crews will be happy if winter weather never hits Northwest Georgia. That way they can continue to work on the roads, instead of clearing them. But when inclement weather comes, our main concern becomes road conditions. Keeping the roads safe and open for emergency vehicles is our first priority. We monitor changing weather conditions and treat roads as needed. Interstates are cleared first, and then state routes from the most heavily traveled to the least traveled,” Howard explained    



The state Department of Transportation in Northwest Georgia has the following resources to deal with any winter weather event:

•           270 employees on call covering 5,117 lane miles

•           4,885 tons of salt

•           6,370 tons of gravel

•           120 pieces of snow removal equipment


Georgia DOT is currently monitoring the weather forecasts and road conditions. It will respond accordingly and specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, like hills, ramps, bridges and interchanges.  However, motorists are urged to:

Slow down and stay behind the snowplows. The road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive. Allow at least ten car lengths between your vehicle and snowplows or hopper spreaders.


Do not pass. The plows are wide, and sometimes a group of trucks will work in tandem to clear snow quickly, especially on major highways.


Be particularly aware of black ice conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps late tonight and the early hours of tomorrow morning.


Remember that technology helps, but only to a point. Four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control are beneficial advancements in today's cars, trucks and SUVs, but they can't take the place of good driving habits and the need to reduce speed on snowy or icy roads.


Call 511 or visit to get current information on road conditions. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at


Motorists can access real-time, statewide, route-specific information on accidents, road work, traffic and weather conditions through Georgia 511 - a free phone service.  By dialing 511, callers also can transfer to operators to 24 hours a day to report incidents or request assistance.  The system can be used to access transit providers, major airports, rideshare organizations, tourism information and 511 systems in surrounding states.  Additionally, 511 is available online.  Georgia DOT partners with sponsors for assistance in funding 511, thereby preserving tax dollars and helping sustain critical services.  For more information about 511, visit    For more information on Georgia DOT, please  or subscribe to our Press Release RSS feed.  You also may follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (


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