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File / The Journal Gazette

New travel advisory system begins this winter

Statement issued Thursday:

(November 10, 2011) — Allen County will be using the new statewide travel advisory system to warn motorists about hazardous conditions on county highways this winter.

Adopted by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year, travel advisories will now fall into one of three categories:

  • Advisory, the lowest level, means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas.
  • Watch means that conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. During a watch, only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended, and emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.
  • Warning, the highest level, means that travel may be restricted to emergency management workers only. During a warning, individuals are directed to refrain from all travel; comply with necessary emergency measures; cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and obey and comply with the directions of properly identified officers. More specific restrictions, including parking restrictions, may be included.
When conditions warrant issuing one of the three levels, public notification will be made through Allen County’s Nixle Community Information Service as well as the local media.

Employees of the County Highway Department spent the last week of October and the first week of November preparing for any snow or ice that may settle on over 3,000 lane miles of county highways this winter. The two-week span gives the department ample time to prepare trucks and check all equipment such as spreaders and plows.

Snow removal will begin when the roadways are determined to be too slippery or a significant amount of accumulation is covering the roadways. The Allen County Sheriff’s Department will also contact the Highway Department when the roads are in need of clearing or salting.

The Highway Department uses several types of vehicles for snow and ice control – five graders, 19 tandem axle dump trucks, 14 single axle dump trucks, and four one-ton small dump trucks. Allen County is divided into North and South Maintenance Districts with 12 zones in each district. Each zone will have at least one truck, and some will have two or more trucks. Graders are used on gravel roads, areas with large drifts of snow, and to clear berms of snow build-ups.

The anti-icing materials used are sand, rock, salt, calcium chloride and stone chips. A sand-salt mixture will be used on most roads. Calcium chloride mixed with sand and salt will be used on roads that need to be cleaned to bare pavement. Stone chips will be used on gravel roads when they become slippery.

On higher traffic count highways, liquid calcium chloride will be applied along with a salt-sand mixture. 23 trucks are outfitted with systems that dispense the liquid onto the salt and sand. The calcium chloride solution speeds the chemical reaction of the salt, causing it to melt the snow and ice much quicker.

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