Officials prepare to keep the roadways safe in winter weather - WRBL

Officials prepare to keep the roadways safe in winter weather

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Georgia DOT trucks prepare for snow Georgia DOT trucks prepare for snow
Columbus Public Works has two trucks loaded with sand spreaders for icy roads Columbus Public Works has two trucks loaded with sand spreaders for icy roads
Georgia Power trucks are geared up for outages in winter weather Georgia Power trucks are geared up for outages in winter weather
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

We won't be seeing nearly the amount of snow blasting our area that the northern parts of our country have experienced this winter, but any flakes dusting the ground can cause problems. That's why officials are doing everything they can to prepare.

Between the Georgia Department of Transportation and Columbus Public Works, six trucks are geared up and ready to roll out with sand spreaders, and it's all hands on deck starting Tuesday morning.

"We're making sure all vehicles are fueled up," says Public Works Director Pat Biegler. "We're even making sure all of our chainsaws are sharp, so that if we have trees or limbs down we can take care of those. We've also loaded several flatbed trucks with sand, and if we need to, we'll have them out and guys with shovels getting sand out on the icy patches."

While sanding the roads is important, public works employees will be monitoring the streets for other problems as well.

Biegler says, "Our priorities are always bridges first because they ice up so quickly, and we've got some hotspots. We've got a list of what we call hotspots, where you've got some natural drainage and the pavement stays wet, and we're always including those on our routes."

At Georgia Power 65 to 80 utility workers will be ready to go in Columbus with more available for around the clock work. Georgia Power's local External Affairs Manager Robert Watkins says, "If we have problems here and not other parts of the state, the storm center is open in Atlanta. They're watching the whole situation, and they'll move crews to wherever the hardest hit locations are."

Sleet can be a dangerous situation for power lines, causing tree limbs to snap and fall, but the electricians will also be focused on keeping the power on for those who need it most. "Keep that water flowing, that's one of the first things we'll be looking out for," says Watkins. "Then your emergency services to make sure they're on and can help people that are having problems."

Watkins suggests signing up on Georgia Power's website to get the latest on outages in your area along with predictions for estimated time for repair.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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