Cities prepare for winter weather problems

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Transportation workers are busy getting ready to face the challenges snow will bring to the roadways.

Jefferson County EMA's trucks have been filled with sand and are ready to roll out in case of icy roads. EMA workers are expected to start showing up at 3:00 on Wednesday afternoon.

In Tuscaloosa, Mayor Walt Maddox met with city staff to review preparations. Personnel have been placed on standby to assist citizens during hazardous conditions. Maddox says citizens should also monitor the city's website at or the city's Facebook or Twitter accounts.

The work for the Alabama Department of Transportation crews has already started.  Workers are putting the department's new salt brine facility into action.  Crews are mixing the salt and water solution, loading the brine onto trucks and spraying Birmingham's interstates starting with I-65.  

ALDOT engineer Brian Davis says this is the first time using the salt brine at this capacity.  Before, ALDOT used a chemical that had to be put down at a specific temperature. It was not an easy task when trying to cover 1,100 miles of interstate.  Davis says the brine gives his crews much more flexibility.

The beauty of this is we were out there yesterday and today.  We were out there in the sunshine.  We were out there the guys aren't on overtime.  We were out there in the daylight where you can see and where the motorists can see them. That doesn't endanger them in the same way that night work does. So as much as we can do before the storm will help us tremendously and we think that's what this will afford us," said Davis.

When you are driving, you may notice which lanes have been sprayed with the salt brine.  When the water in the solution dries, it leaves the salt on the interstate which shows up as a powdery residue.

With colder temperatures on the way, the city of Birmingham is helping folks stay warm. They are opening up their warming stations once more at Boutwell Auditorium. The facility will remain open for those who need it until Friday.

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