Division of Highways tells us how to stay safe on icy roads - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Division of Highways tells us how to stay safe on icy roads

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Experts say snow is challenging, but it's ice on the roads that cause the real dangers for drivers.

We spoke with the Division of Highways on Monday to find out how they treat all this ice. The Division of Highways District 10 manager Tom Camden told 59News when temperatures drop below 15 degrees, salt alone, simply becomes ineffective.

To treat ice, Camden said, they adjust the ratio in their mix. He said generally, the colder the temperatures, the more stone added in than salt.

"It helps provide traction but also, when the traffic passes over the stone, it pushes over the ice and helps to crack and break it up," Camden said.

The most heavily traveled roads, he told us, such as highways and interstates, will take more precedence.

"On a day like today the problem is we will be continuously treating the same stretch of roadway, so that means it'll take even longer to get to the secondary roads. If it snows and quits, then we can handle it pretty quickly. But when it constantly snows, we have to go over and over the same stretch," he told us.

And he said, if one area is hit worse, those roads will see more help and treatment.

"If it's worse in one area, we will re-allocate our resources. I understand Raleigh County has probably gotten more snow than this area today, so if need be we will go down there and help them out if it gets better down this way," said Camden.

In areas of high elevation, even the average snow plow truck is just not enough.

"When you have situations in some areas, such as Flat Top, you may have 5 or 6 foot drifts where nothing will plow through that. We'd have to go through with an inloader and scoop it out," he told us.

District 10 of the Division of Highways covers 3,000 miles of roads throughout Mercer, Raleigh, McDowell and Wyoming counties.

Even though our Governor closed state offices on Monday, Camden said his men were out working their 12-hour shift, 24/7.