Bethesda Light Snow

Residents Can Use Online Map to Check Real-Time Road Conditions

As the snow continues to fall in Montgomery County, Montgomery County Highway Services are plowing the main roadways and expect to be into neighborhoods by this evening.Bethesda Light Snow

To find out how the roads look in your area, check out the Highway Services interactive map here.

According to a Feb. 19 interview with Keith Compton, division chief for Montgomery County’s Department of Highway Services, the county was about $1 million more than budgeted but less than half of the ten-year-average expenditure for snow and ice removal at that point in the season. This storm is certain to add substantial costs to that total.

When the county’s 175 plows with 175 drivers are working to clear the roadways, it costs the county $13,000 an hour. That’s if that work is being done during the traditional workday. Weekend and off hours are overtime. So far the county has used 40,000 tons of rock salt mixture. Also, the county’s uses brine- a solution of 21 percent salt and water- to pretreat roadways at a cost of $35,000 for 1,000 lane miles. Brine helps to retard the bonding of ice to the roadway so crews can remove it easier.

But when Compton watches the weather forecast, he said snow totals don’t worry him. It’s a three letter word that gets him concerned.

“In a word- ice,” Compton said. “It’s the most costly, dangerous and difficult to treat. I’d rather have six inches of snow than a quarter inch of ice.”

This year Compton’s team has a new tool to help keep roads safe. It’s called a road weather information system and it is a pavement forecasting system. Compton said sensors are mounted on four traffic signal poles in the county that shoot photos and signals to read pavement temperatures, dew points and grip factors to help Compton’s team determine road conditions. The four sensors in the county are in the northwest, southwest, northwest and southeast to provide information on the mico-climates here.

“This is our busy season,” Compton said.

Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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