New Jersey ready to send out 3,000 spreaders, plows if needed
The pandemic may actually make the job much easier for folks attempting to improve road conditions during the upcoming snowstorm, and those clearing the highways of snow when accumulations pile up.
Compared to a pre-COVID-19 Wednesday evening, far fewer vehicles will be heading home from work when this winter storm is expected to hit the gas pedal. And on Thursday morning, bus and car travel to school will be minimal compared to a typical weekday, with many kids learning remotely due to the public health crisis.
In an interview with Townsquare Media News, leading up to the Wednesday-Thursday nor'easter, the state Department of Transportation said it has nearly 3,000 salt spreaders and plows available, between the department itself and its contractors, to fight the impending storm.
Deployment of DOT's assets should vary greatly throughout the state — if forecasts play out, the northern segment of the state could see more than a foot of snow, and the southernmost region may just see rain.
The DOT handles more than 13,000 lane miles, of Interstate, U.S. and state routes. The department is coordinating with State Police and other transportation agencies in its planning for the storm.
DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro said the department is ensuring all state roads are pre-treated. Some roads may have residual salt from Monday; roads that do not were expected to receive brine on Tuesday.
"We have the capacity to store approximately 275,000 tons of salt, and we're near 100% capacity approaching this storm," Schapiro said. "We'll activate our resources as needed."
Pandemic or no pandemic, Schapiro said it's always better for motorists to "stay off the road" during a winter event like the one that's expected this week.
"It's important for motorists, if they have to be out on the road, to give our crews the space they need to work," Schapiro said. "If you don't have to be out on the road, it's best to stay home."