A question on many commuters’ minds Tuesday: Will any bridges have to close during Wednesday’s winter storm?
The answer from officials: There’s just no way to predict ahead of time.
Kevin Turner, a district engineer with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, said the first trucks were dispatched to pre-treat Beaufort County bridges with a brine solution around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday
“People should be mindful that we are expected to get some ice accumulation,” Turner said. “Staying off the road is always a better alternative.”
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A winter storm watch is in effect from Wednesday morning through the evening, and Beaufort County should expect 1 to 3 inches of snow by the end of the day.
Turner said local law enforcement officials will make the call to close roads and bridges if it becomes necessary.
“We will be doing everything in our power to keep the roads passable,” he said.
The brine solution being sprayed on bridges is expected to dry overnight and leave a salt residue. This coating will make it easier for plows to remove any ice that forms on the bridge decks during the storm, Turner explained.
Bridges that are high above the water or heavily trafficked, like the Broad River bridge and the Hilton Head Island bridges, were being given priority.
“We’ve got trucks with spreaders that can put down salt or sand as necessary,” Turner said. SCDOT crews based in the Upstate also were expected to help in the Lowcountry over the next few days.
Ridgeland Fire Chief Bradley Bonds said in a news release that the town is concerned with ice on roadways.
“We are asking folks to stay home if possible and stay off the roads,” Bonds said in the release.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division will be monitoring the weather, a news release from that office said.
The National Weather Service in Charleston says snow, sleet or ice accumulations may impact travel across the Lowcountry, starting as early as midnight. Freezing rain is expected in the mixture before 2 p.m. Wednesday, while after 3 p.m., Beaufort County will likely see a mixture of rain and snow.