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KYTC: Nonessential driving still discouraged

By Chuck Wolfe

Frankfort, KY - Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) snow and ice crews are working for a second day to clear roadways left icy and snow covered when a powerful winter storm swept through the state on Thursday.

Skies will be sunny today, but temperatures will remain below freezing, so crews will add calcium chloride to salt to aid in deicing.

Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency Thursday and urged the public to refrain from all but essential driving. Anyone venturing out should remain alert for slick spots, dramatically reduce driving speed and stay out of the way of KYTC crews and emergency vehicles.

"Dry weather will greatly help us," Gov. Beshear said. "But water from melting ice today can freeze again when temperatures remain frigid. The best advice is to stay off the road. If a trip is essential, exercise extreme caution."

KYTC crews pretreated surfaces, including bridges and known slick spots in advance of the weather front, but accumulation occurred so quickly in most areas that roadways were covered again within minutes of being plowed. The weather caused dozens of crashes, many involving large trucks, that caused hours-long blockages of Interstates 64, 65 and 75 and the Western Kentucky Parkway.

"It was a 'perfect storm,' literally," Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said. "Heavy snowfall, combined with heavy, midday traffic and freezing pavement temperatures. The heavy traffic slowed many of our snowplows and salt trucks, and freezing pavement meant ice beneath the snow."

The Transportation Cabinet asks the public to help in four ways:
  • Mask up to slow the spread of COVID and help protect essential personnel, such as snow and ice crews.
  • Limit travel.
  • Give snow plows plenty of room on the road.
  • Be prepared. Make sure a vehicle is winter-ready. Pack an emergency kit.
"Keeping roadways as safe as possible is one of the most important roles of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and that is never more important than in snow and ice season," Secretary Gray said. "Our crews are doing as much as humanly possible, but they need the public's cooperation and assistance. At the moment, that means staying off the road unless travel is absolutely necessary."

The cabinet uses a three-tier system, designating routes as A, B or C, to prioritize treatment and snow clearing. Route designations are based on such factors as traffic volume and connections to critical services, such as hospitals.

Crews today will continue to work A routes and progress to B and C routes as they are able. That will occur sooner in western and northern highway districts, where accumulation was lightest. However, it's expected that most routes will receive treatment today.

Some vehicles remained to be towed from scenes of crashes on I-64 in Clark County, mile point 101, and I-75, MP 99, at the Clays Ferry Bridge on the Fayette/Madison county line. Traffic is moving slowly through both areas. Drivers should watch out for stranded vehicles.

Drivers on interstate routes with center barrier walls should watch out for snow plows working in tandem. They also should continue to watch for "black ice" on what might appear to be bare or merely wet pavement.

The Cabinet's snow and ice information website,, provides details about priority routes, helpful winter weather tips, fact sheets and videos on salt application and snow removal.

This story was posted on 2022-01-07 15:06:48
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