DelDOT workers are resting up for what could be a long night behind the wheel of the plows as another big winter storms takes aim at the region.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Kent and Sussex County. Forecasters say Delaware could get 12 to 18 inches, with some locations seeing as much as 24 inches. Those snowfall totals combined with strong winds could reduce visibility to less than a quarter mile.
The forecast feels like a case of déjà vu for Delaware’s Department of Transportation. “This is one of the most significant winters, so far, that we’ve seen in 10 years,” says DelDOT’s Jim Westhoff. Westhoff says the department is counting on salt that was applied to the road for snowfall earlier this week to help keep major roads clear of snow early on for the coming storm. He says, “Having some salt on the ground already, helps us minimize the amount of snow accumulation on the road.”
Westhoff says the department was expecting another shipment of salt to replace what had been applied to the roads earlier in the week. “By tomorrow [Friday], we will be completely full of our salt throughout the state, that’s 50,000 tons of salt we will have on hand.”
Westhoff says the state has spent roughly $3.9 million dollars responding to storms this fiscal year, and that includes DelDOT’s response to some flooding down state last year. He says even though the department has had to move some money out of its capital budget to cover the cost of snow removal, “The governor has told us that we need to focus on making the roads safe. Pay whatever we have to, we need to have the roads safe.” He says snow removal is not an area where you can cut corners.
He says with plenty of warning for the coming storm, drivers should be able to plan ahead to get supplies, and stay off the road once the snow starts falling. “You can plan now to stay in this weekend, and hopefully we can get a lot of people off the roads.”