ODOT considers salt for weekend winter storm, drivers prep for i - KPTV - FOX 12

ODOT considers salt for weekend winter storm, drivers prep for icy roads

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Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the recent clear skies and sunshine, because the forecast is about to take a dramatic turn.

This weekend a winter storm could coat much of the metro area in ice and snow, making for dangerous driving conditions.

“My husband does not know how to use them - I know how to use them!” exclaimed Dr. Bo Celnik, who works in the West Hills of Portland.

Along with knowing how to properly put on snow chains, Dr. Celnik will be all set when ice and snow arrives this weekend, and she needs to hit the road.

“You have to have a thermos with hot tea in your car, you have to have some food in case you get stuck, and you have to have cat litter, in case you need it for the tires,” said Dr. Celnik.

That is, if you do go out.

Otherwise, many drivers FOX 12 spoke with had simple advice, “If you don’t need to drive, don’t drive!”

A hard lesson learned for many across the metro area during the December 14 storm, when we saw spin outs, abandoned cars, and a traffic jam as far as the eye can see.

ODOT has been prepping the roads with deicer the last few days. But with a freezing forecast sticking around for much of the weekend, they say salting the roads will be an option.

“We will use salt in the Portland area only in very specific, targeted circumstances. We’ll try to be very aware of the environmental conditions in the area,” said Don Hamilton with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

They say the salt would be used in areas notorious for dicey conditions.

“We saw some good examples of where salt might have been used during the last storm. On the hill, going up Sylvan, on Highway 26, Interstate 5 in the Portland area with a lot of hills,” Hamilton explained.

It’s a recent decision praised by some.

“I think if it’s used sparingly, in cases like this it’s a good idea. It would make it a lot safer, and would allow people who need to move around, to move around,” one driver told FOX 12.

But others frown upon the use of salt on the roads.

“Salt is very corrosive, it ruins the metal in your car, it ruins the roads and it’s not good,” said Dr. Celnik.

Either way, everyone can agree we don’t want another repeat of the December 14 traffic mess.

“Hopefully it’s able to melt by the time school gets back in session, but you never really know,” said Alexandra Naud, local seventh grader.

Another tip from ODOT, get your car washed after the snow and ice melts away. If they did use salt in areas where you drove, you’ll want to get the salt off to avoid rust.

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