80 DPW drivers salting streets as rain turns to snow

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.--  The Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) says 80 salt and plow truck drivers are currently patrolling city streets as Monday afternoon rain gives way to a snowy evening commute.

DPW Public Information Officer Charnay Pickett says drivers waited until rain turned to snow before starting to treat bridges and overpasses with road salt.

“You don’t want to put down salt during the rain, because it will get washed away,” Pickett said.  “So as that rain starts to change over to snow, we’ll be focusing on bridges and overpasses because those freeze first.”

Snow was falling around downtown Indianapolis around 2 p.m. Monday.  Most of the snow in the early evening is expected to melt on contact with warm city streets.  However, as record cold temperatures set in Monday night into Tuesday morning, Pickett says pavement temperature readings will be crucial to determine how the streets are treated.

“We have different services that we subscribe to and they’re monitoring those pavement temperatures for us and relaying that information back,” Pickett said.  “So while we’re monitoring that, that’s how we go about deciding what plans we need throughout the day to keep drivers safe.”

Pickett said repeated salt treatments could be needed through the overnight hours as wind chills are expected to dip into the single digits and pavement temperatures drop.

“As they begin to get low, or get close to that 32 mark, that’s when you want to be kind of cautious of potential of refreeze,” Pickett said.

At some point, one to two inches of snow could be enough for DPW drivers to drop their plow blades in order to clear snow and slush from roadways.  The early hours of the snow fight will mainly involve salting city streets, Pickett said.

At 11 p.m., a second shift of 80 DPW drivers will take over and continue running routes overnight and through the Tuesday morning commute, Pickett said.

You can watch in real time where DPW trucks are treating roadways on the Indy Snow Force Viewer website.  The website shows where DPW trucks are currently treating roads, and where they’ve been over the last several hours.

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