NJDOT is prepared for the winter season
(Trenton) - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced today that plans to deal with winter weather are in place, with equipment at the ready, supplies stockpiled and trained personnel poised to clear roads of ice and snow.
“NJDOT crews and contractors are ready to help keep motorists safe and on the move this winter,” said Commissioner James Simpson. “Harsh weather creates hazardous driving conditions, so I urge all motorists to use good judgment when traveling on snow-covered or icy roads. Driving a little slower than usual and allowing ample room for gradual braking can help keep everyone safe.”
NJDOT is ready to deploy 427 state trucks to plow snow and spread salt on New Jersey's 12,953 lane miles of interstate and state highways. Depending on the severity and breadth of a storm, another 1,331 private-contractor vehicles are ready to help with plowing and salt-spreading duties.
The Department can enlist approximately 1,500 NJDOT employees and volunteers assigned to 76 crews, and as many as 1,331 private contractors who operate their own vehicles.
Current stockpiles include:
• 139,047 tons of rock salt (85% of full capacity)
• 547,898 gallons of liquid calcium (76% of full capacity)
• 116,000 gallons of brine solution (77% of full capacity)
Liquid calcium solution helps rock salt melt ice quicker, increasing its effectiveness. Brine solution is sprayed on roadways before an expected storm to help prevent icing. NJDOT brines roadways in the northern part of the state every Tuesday and Thursday beginning in late-November, and brines as necessary in the central and southern sections of the state.
The materials are housed at 70 salt storage facilities statewide, including 49 domes and 21 sheds. NJDOT stores its equipment and administers its winter readiness plans at 68 maintenance yards located across the state.
NJDOT has budgeted $10.3 million for winter 2010-2011. Additional emergency funds are available should the Department exhaust this amount.
Preparations in recent weeks and months have included Operation Checkout readiness exercises to practice strategic deployment, equipment preparedness and management of weather stations and emergency operations centers. The exercises ensured that all equipment and systems are operating as intended.
NJDOT’s 511 Traveler Alert phone and internet system, Statewide Traffic Management Center and 37 remote weather stations will help motorists navigate New Jersey’s roadways during winter storms.
Motorists are reminded that it is a New Jersey law to make all reasonable efforts to remove snow or ice from their vehicle, including the roof, hood, trunk and windshield. In the case of a truck, the law applies to the cab, the top of a trailer or semi-trailer being drawn by a motor vehicle, and the top of an intermodal freight container. Drivers who fail to comply with the law face fines ranging from $25 to $75.
NJDOT partner agencies
NJDOT's partners at NJ TRANSIT, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) and the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) are working with NJDOT to maintain safe conditions during the winter months.
NJ TRANSIT has "winterized" hundreds of rail cars and nearly 2,100 buses as part of the annual preparation for winter weather. In addition, more than 750 switches and switch heaters, overhead wire systems, 12 moveable bridges and wayside power at storage yards and terminals have been inspected. Equipment to plow snow and spread salt at bus garages, park & ride lots and other facilities has been readied for use. Snow plows for diesel locomotives have been checked and two snow blowers powered by jet engines are ready to clear ice and snow from tracks and rail switches.
NJTA, which operates the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, also is marshalling its resources. NJTA is prepared to deploy 271 trucks using 49,000 tons of salt for the roads on the Parkway. Over 280 additional contractor plow trucks will be on call.
The SJTA, which operates the Atlantic City Expressway, has filled salt domes at its three storage locations with 3500 tons of rock salt, 9000 gallons of liquid calcium, 30000 gallons of brine solution is prepared to fuel and load at least 61 vehicles.
Real time traffic information, including weather-related incidents, is available at www.511nj.org.