By John McDevitt, Diana Rocco, Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Here we go again! Snow is in the forecast for Saturday, and area transportation department crews are getting ready for it.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) trucks and equipment were being checked out Friday at maintenance yards around the Delaware Valley, and brining operations in the five-county Philadelphia region are underway.
“We are spraying the salt brine on the dry road surface, basically to get that potential salt residue on the pavement,” says PennDOT spokesman Gene Baum. “And what that salt does is, when the snow or wintry mix begins to fall, it helps prevent that bond from forming on the cold pavement.”
Winter hasn’t officially started yet, but you wouldn’t know it in our area.
“I’m happy it’s snowing, it feels like winter. I have an SUV so I can get around,” said resident Mike Rice.
Mike Rice, like many in Montgomery County and Bucks County, made a last minute trip to Home Depot for supplies, bracing for another round headed our way.
“With the traffic that is going to be coming later with the Army-Navy Game, as we say we have to get out there quick, fast, early, hit the salt and hit it hard because we want to make sure it doesn’t bond to the roadway and we don’t miss anything,” says PennDOT’s Nick Martino. “Then we will use traffic to our advantage to work the salt into the the roadway and it will make it easy for us later on in the evening hours to start moving it and start plowing it for the people coming home during the games.”
PennDOT is deploying a full force, 415 trucks, out salting highways, interstates and secondary roads, once the first flakes start to fall.
This is the third storm in a week. Last weekend’s wintery blast took everyone by surprise, stranding drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and side roads, and it was more of the same mid-week.
“So far we’ve laid down 20,000 pounds of salt, but we have 100,000 more,” Martino said.
And the New Jersey Department of Transportation is doing the same thing. NJ DOT spokesman Tim Greeley says his workers are ready.
“We are committing ourselves to deploying all of the available resources, to get out there, to salt the roads, and plow the roads,” he said.
Greeley says they understand it’s the holiday shopping season, people will be out and about, and they’re preparing for this storm and are at “full activation.”
“We’re constantly monitoring a number of different forecasts,” he says, “as well as remote weather stations that we have placed around the state that monitor, not only the air temperature, but the ground temperature which, obviously, is very important.”
This time drivers say they’re prepared for whatever may come their way, or at least they will be.
“I just moved here from California so I had to buy the scraper and the shovel,” resident Marilyn Callaway said.
“Our driveway is iced over because we didn’t have salt or anything. That is in the to-do list tonight,” another resident said.
Now, if you’re flying or picking up someone at Philadelphia International Airport, you are encouraged to check ahead with the airline.
“We certainly treat every storm as if we can get the maximum amount of snow,” says Airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica.
Lupica says they’ll have a crew of 450 on alert, ready to clear the runways and walkways and de-ice the planes.
To check the status of a flight, visit PHL.org or call 1-800-PHL-GATE.