Road crews mobilize for the first snow of the season


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Road crews spent the final day of November 2020 gearing up for the first snow of the season.

Rain changed to snow Monday, first in the higher elevations and, by 8 p.m., in the metro Tri-Cities area.

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Roads still warm from a mild fall reduced the risk of widespread travel hazards, but that didn’t stop Tennessee Department of Transportation crews from pre-treating roads Monday afternoon.

“Our crews will stay on the job as long as necessary,” said Mark Nagi, TDOT’s spokesman based in Knoxville. “We expect them to be working at least until the morning on Tuesday.”

In rural Unicoi County, Tennessee, pre-treating wasn’t part of the strategy for the first winter storm of the season.

“We’re not doing pre-treatment because we don’t have the money in the budget to do the pre-treatment,” said Terry Haynes, superintendent of roads in Unicoi County, Tennessee. “We’ve been very fortunate because last year was a mild winter and we had our salt left over.”

Across the border in Carter County, road crews planned to attack in time for the Tuesday morning drive with a priority on the most heavily-traveled and most seriously impacted roads.

“It’s going to be very slick,” said Shannon Barnett, Assistant Road Superintendent for Carter County. “We’ll get out as soon as we can and start on it, but there’s several miles of roads in Carter County. We have like 17 different sections that we divide up, and we put a truck in each section to try to cover that route.”

This is a developing story. Stay with News Channel 11 for the latest on local road conditions.

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