TV-6 Investigates: State Bridge Salting Policies - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

TV-6 Investigates: State Bridge Salting Policies


Snow plows have been out this evening touching up some slick spots on the roads, including on Centennial bridge.

It was the scene of seven accidents Tuesday morning after ice formed on the bridge.

TV-6 Investigates asked this question of Transportation Departments and Public Works Departments in three states: is it standard procedure to leave a bridge alone when it's dry?

The answer, yes, which is what the Illinois DOT told TV-6 Wednesday.

Once roads are clear, snow clearing agencies want to get their plows off the roads because they're spending our tax dollars while they're out there.

At the time the accidents started happening on Centennial, Illinois plow drivers were either working on rural routes or heading back to the shed for a shift change.

There had been no precipitation overnight into Tuesday morning, so there was no thought Centennial was iced up.

"That bridge at one point was completely dry. We would not treat a dry bridge," says IDOT District 2 Operations Engineer Trisha Thompson.

Where did the ice come from?

DOT's tell TV-6 car tires and car exhaust.

The tires track slush from city streets and exhaust includes water vapor.

Weather records show the air temperature was hovering around seven below that morning, so any water on the bridge surface would have frozen very quickly.

Plow agencies wouldn't have known there was an issue until police told them.

Sources tell TV-6 drivers are part of the equation. Plows can't turn a road back into summer conditions just because they've cleared it.

Some states have help trucks patrolling the roads.

They can spot drivers in trouble and also notify the maintenance yards if more sand or salt is needed.

Other's will also send supervisors out if needed to double check roads.

Plows work assigned routes, because they're working on taxpayer's dime, every time they hit the roads.

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