Western Pa. salt trucks ready for ice, slick roads as temps drop | TribLIVE.com

Western Pa. salt trucks ready for ice, slick roads as temps drop

Tony LaRussa

There’s isn’t much snow predicted for the Pittsburgh region over the next week, but the chance that temperatures will dip into the upper teens next week has kicked preparations for dealing with any accumulation or ice into high gear.

The weather forecast for tonight through Friday afternoon calls for a chance of snow showers and low temperatures in the mid-20s with little or no accumulation.

“The ground is still fairly warm, so even if it snows some we expect little or no accumulation through most of Allegheny County,” said Michael Brown, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Moon.

Brown said temperatures during the next week will be colder than normal for this time of year, when the daytime temperature typically is in the 50s with lows in the 30s overnight.

Except for Sunday, when the daytime temperature will be in the low 50s, the forecast through next Thursday calls for daytime high temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s, with a drop overnight into the high teens to mid-20s.

“While we are expecting little to no accumulation from [Thursday] today’s snow event, we are prepared in case the forecast changes or problem areas arise on our roads and bridges,” said Stephen G. Shanley, the county’s public works director. “We will have 20 salt trucks ready to be deployed, as needed, if there is accumulation or slick spots.”

Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable said the city would have extra crews working overnight in case of icy streets.

In anticipation of possible poor driving conditions, the county began filling trucks with salt and anti-skid material.

State transportation officials also are getting ready to deal with bad weather.

“PennDOT has been preparing for this winter since the end of last winter,” said Lori Musto, the state transportation agency’s maintenance manager for Allegheny County.

PennDOT already has 17 locations in the county stocked with a total of 29,000 tons of road salt, she said, adding that a total of 37,000 tons of salt was used to treat roads last winter.

There are 65 salt trucks operated by 133 full-time and 14 part-time drivers that will be deployed around the clock if roads get slick.

Before a storm hits, the agency conducts a weather evaluation to determine if pre-treating the roads is warranted, she said.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Tony LaRussa | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County public works crews filled about 20 trucks with road salt at its storage facility off Wildwood Road Thursday.
Tony LaRussa | Tribune-Review
An Allegheny County public works driver picks up a load of road salt at the storage facility off Wildwood Road on Thursday.
Tony LaRussa | Tribune-Review
Steve Shanley, Allegheny County’s director of public works, briefs reporters about how public works crews are preparing in case winter weather makes roads slick.
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