FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (Noon, Thursday, March 5) — At this hour, all KYTC District 9 plow crews are scraping fast-falling snow from “completely covered” main Priority A routes, while grader crews are working secondary Priority B and C routes in some counties to keep them from becoming impassable, as a massive winter storm continues to pile as much as 15 inches of snow across northeast Kentucky. Travel is not advised.
Plow and grader crews will remain focused on treating roads and clearing as much snow from as many highways as possible today before temperatures fall toward single digits tonight, which will make salt ineffective.
• As of 11 a.m., all state highways, including I-64 and other main roads, in Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas and Rowan counties are classified as “completely covered” by snow, with air and pavement temps about 18-22 degrees. Travel lane markings are obscured and roadway surfaces are slick. Plowed areas are being quickly covered back up between snow plow passes, but snow is diminishing west to east.
• Gov. Steve Beshear has issued a statewide emergency and urged the public to avoid travel as roads are “treacherous” and stuck vehicles and crashes are hindering snow-removal efforts. More information via @GovSteveBeshear on Twitter or the online news release at http://1.usa.gov/1EpYLyL. Safety tips, advisories also via Kentucky Emergency Management athttp://kyem.ky.gov/.
• As the storm continues, all plow drivers can do is keep snow from piling up as high as it is in people’s yards, while responding to fallen trees, especially in Greenup County, and flooding – reported on KY 784, KY 2 and KY 2 and 7 in Greenup, and in the Rush are of Boyd County, as well as KY 36, 211 in Bath and KY 989, KY 3303 – and other storm issues. If floodwaters are blocking roads, they’re also blocking plows. Drivers are adjusting routes, but it could take longer to clear those roads.
• Crews will remain focused on plowing and treating high-priority routes, but are bringing out graders to keep back roads from becoming impassable; and crews will try to clear as much snow from as many highways as possible today before temperatures fall toward single digits tonight, which will make salt ineffective.
• Until the storm stops, highways will not be clear. And even then it will take many hours, perhaps days to get to all roads due to amount of snow cover.
• Multiple agencies, including the Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Emergency Management, District 9 and others are advising motorists to stay off roads and take appropriate safety precautions, as northeast Kentucky faces this combination of dangers.
• State road crews will remain out in force, working 12-hour shifts until the storm threat subsides to clear highways.
— State highways are being cleared on a priority basis, meaning heavily-traveled routes such as I-64, the AA Highway, US 68, KY 11, KY 32, US 60, KY 7, US 23 and others are plowed first. Secondary and rural roads will be salted and plowed once main routes have been cleared. To view the priority network for snow removal, go to http://bit.ly/D9Snow orhttp://transportation.ky.gov/Maintenance/Pages/Snow-and-Ice-Priority-Maps.aspx and select a county.
— District 9 has approximately 75 snow plows and more than 15,000 tons of salt stockpiled to fight winter weather; and, statewide, the Transportation Cabinet can deploy 1,000 snow plows and 385 contractors with plows, but has responsibility for 63,000 lane miles of roadway. It will take time to clear all highways, possible several days.
— To remove snow and treat roads effectively, plows must travel slower than other traffic. For safety, please stay at least 100 feet from plows, watch for snow plumes, and do not crowd the plow.
— If travel in snow or other wintry weather is necessary and unavoidable, motorists should slow down, buckle up and use extra caution when driving by maintaining a “space cushion” for maneuverability by maintaining a safe distance of at least 500 feet between vehicles.
You can learn more about snow removal efforts, including snow removal priority routes, by visiting District 9 online at http://bit.ly/D9Snow. Or, keep up to date on Twitter and Facebook at http://twitter.com/KYTCDistrict9 orhttp://facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9.
Kentucky traffic and travel information is available by dialing 511 or online at www.511.ky.gov. Find out where snow plows are operating at http://bit.ly/KYPlows.
Roadway and air temperature sensor information can be found at Kentucky’s RWIS system site at http://rwis.kytc.ky.gov/.