The Indiana Department of Transportation issued this news release today:
NORTHEAST INDIANA – Despite nearly three weeks of around the clock road maintenance for many Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) crews in Northeast Indiana due to extreme weather, a long weekend on the roads looks to be forecasted ahead. Drivers should be aware of the potentially hazardous conditions on the roads in the coming days, despite a full call-out of INDOT plows and resources.
Right now INDOT crews are battling wind gusts of 40+ mph which are sending plowed snow back onto the roads very quickly. Subzero temperatures are then icing the roadways. Crews are spreading salt, chemical de-icers and abrasives but in these conditions those tactics become less effective due to piles of blowing snow covering our de-icing and traction material.
Through tomorrow night, 2” to 6” of new snow is in the forecast for most of Northeast Indiana. INDOT crews will remain in full call-out mode in these affected areas 24 hours a day, in 12 hour alternating shifts, until roads are clear. INDOT staff monitors weather forecasts and deploys plow drivers before predicted winter weather. Each INDOT plow route takes 2 to 3 hours to complete with de-icing agents assisting in melting between passes.
Motorists should be aware that, due to the extreme weather conditions, many roadways will still be slick and snow-covered at times. Drivers must slow down, watch out for other drivers who may be driving unsafely, plan plenty of time for your trip, and give INDOT plow trucks room to work. If possible, staying off the roads entirely is the safest option.
A Historic Effort Already for INDOT: INDOT yellow plow trucks have logged nearly 4.3 million miles and deployed 265,000 tons of granular salt during this record winter, through January 18. In addition, INDOT had deployed nearly 2.5 million gallons of salt brine on Hoosier highways.
National Weather Service offices in Indianapolis and Chicago respectively have recorded the second- and third-highest snowfall totals for a winter season on record through January 21. Over the past five years, the average cost of INDOT’s winter operations including overtime, fuel, and salt has been $33.8 million. With this winter a little more than half over, INDOT estimates it has invested more than $31 million in winter operations as of last week.
INDOT’s maintenance budget is funded primarily through vehicle registration fees and an 18-cent tax charged for every gallon of gas. Indiana fuel taxes have not increased in more than a decade.
Drivers in Northeast Indiana can monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts at any time via the District’s social media channels: www.Facebook.com/INDOTNortheast or Twitter @INDOTNortheast. Or visit http://www.trafficwise.in.gov for INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service.