JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Because of their higher elevation, bridges freeze over first when winter weather hits. The Mississippi Department of Transportation will spread de-icing product over all state bridges on I-20, I-220 and I-55 when the freezing precipitation starts to fall overnight Wednesday. They'll monitor the Interstates too, and take care of some secondary roads and bridges if need be.
"We use rock salt, mixture of misselite, which is small crushed rock. We have 600,000 pounds on hand," says MDOT maintenance supervisor Donald Wash.
MDOT crews have activated their ice and snow plan, working 12-hour shifts and keeping a close eye on the conditions.
It's the same in the City of Jackson, where 3,500 pounds of sodium chloride are ready to be spread on slippery roadways and bridges. The road conditions could be the most dangerous we've seen in a decade.
"Certainly what they're anticipating is the worst we've seen," says Bruce Thames, Infrastructure Manager. "In all the divisions, we'll have 30 people on standby ready to go out, respond to whatever needs to be done."
"We're also working with the Police Department, Fire Department, as they identify bridges, roads, that are not included in our regular program, to be able to respond and address those," says Public Works Director Thelman Boyd.
Mississippians aren't accustomed to driving on snow and ice. If you're skidding, experts advise you either apply or brakes or turn your vehicle, but don't do both at once. Also, if you have anti-lock brakes, don't pump them. If you don't have anti-lock brakes, pump lightly to grab some traction.
And certainly, practice common sense. "When approaching bridges, slow down, get to a safe speed before you cross it," Wash says.