Laying Down Winter's Foundation

plowtruckLYNDON - Drivers it is now December, in just a few days snow will be falling, that means the roads are bound to get covered a with black ice. If you're driving you may want to be extra careful. Cars are recomended to have snow tires equipped on there wheels.
Freezing rain has also been a concern for Vermonters for years especially in the Northeast Kingdom. The Vermont Agency of Transportation, has been out taking care of roads during the mornings. Taking care of the roads is no easy task in order to make sure the people in the Northeast Kingdom arrive safely. Plowers have to salt the roads due to the ice and snow, so that tires can get traction on the pavement.
 Jonathan Leonard is a snow plow driver for The Vermont Agency of Transportation. He had this to say on the matter "Each storm is different of course, so you have to run around and check the roads, to determine what we need to put down for material. Throughout the storm you have to keep running around and checking them, applying more material as it's needed. Especially the bad spots until the storm is done." However it's not just the plowers that need to keep the roads safe. Everyday drivers need to be cautious and careful of the roads conditions. Police Chief Jack Harris said  "People have to keep themselves safe while driving, unfortunately the one thing you hear a lot of is, I'm a vermonter this is our weather, but you know people still need to learn, i don't care where your from, when the roads ice up you have to slow down, four wheel drive doesn't help you on ice."
Ice forms on the road only when the road gets wet from snowfall. Temperatures have to be as low as 32 degrees for ice to form black ice. Plowers add salt to the roads so that the salt dissolves ice. Salt can dissolve ice because it heats up the temperature of the ice by ten percent. If road temperatures are 15 degrees then the salt won't do that much damage to the ice covering the road. Plowers sometimes can use sand however it can damage environments. The only time plowers use sand is under 10 degrees. Jonathan Leonard "The problem with sand is it creates a lot of environmental issues, because it runs into ditches and in your brooks, the fish have problem trying to spawn, so we use very limited amounts of sand these days." Plowers avoid sand when the roads are near streams or rivers. Another material plowers use is salt brine, which is more effective then salt; can dissolve ice at 15 degrees. Plowers use salt brine only when temperatures are 10 degrees. 
 With each and very storm being different, there is no way to tell what road conditions will be like; at the end of the day it is up to vermonters to keep the roads safe.

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