Road crews challenged by Fayette’s icy roads last week

Road crews challenged by Fayette’s icy roads last week

It may have been only a couple of inches of snow that fell during the nighttime hours of Tuesday, Jan. 16 and the early hours of Jan. 17, but frigid temperatures that lingered through the week played havoc on roadways throughout Fayette County and challenged road crews to clear as much ice as possible before what was left re-froze the next night.

Above, A Peachtree City resident shared this picture of a neighborhood near Lake Peachtree and how some of the neighbors were making use of an uncommon mid-week day off because of snowfall. Photo/Jennifer Vetter.

Law enforcement officials in Fayette and Fayetteville reported several wrecks but no serious injuries as a result of the snow and ice-covered roads.

Fayette County Public Works Director Phil Mallon said crews put in 811 hours of work during the response and worked shifts beginning at 8 p.m. on Tuesday and ending at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Crews applied 75 tons of salt, 50 tons of sand, 125 tons of rock and 10 tons of sand supplied by the Ga. Dept of Transportation (DOT).

Mallon said crews worked on the state highways that included Ga. highways 74, 85 and 92. Crews also plowed and salted the emergency entrance to Piedmont Fayette Hospital at the hospital’s request.

The county responded to 230 different road activity needs during snow and ice event, Mallon said. Those tasks included salting roads, scraping roads and road closures. This number includes multiple responses to the same road. Citing an example, Mallon said crews were on Westbridge Road nine different times either salting or scraping.

Crews worked on 61 different streets and roads throughout the county, treating approximately 200 miles of roadway, Mallon said. Those include state routes and a few city streets, he said.

As a point of reference, Mallon said unincorporated Fayette has approximately 500 miles of paved road.

Mallon said that during any emergency response event keeping the equipment running is a critical component of the operations. For this event, Fayette County Fleet Maintenance had 30 man-hours of maintenance and repair on the snow equipment, plus any public safety equipment that came in while the county offices were closed. Fleet also helps prepare the equipment beforehand as storms are in the forecast, Mallon said.

Fayetteville Public Works Director Chris Hindman said two 5-person road crews worked during the event and applied 1,600 pounds of salt, 1,600 pounds of sand and 100 pounds of warming agent calcium chloride to city streets.

The calcium chloride is expensive and was applied to the higher traffic areas, Hindman said.

Hindman said accident prone areas and streets such as Grady Avenue, North Jeff Davis Drive, Oak Street and the city’s roundabouts were treated on Wednesday, the first day of the multi-day event that had schools closing for the remainder of the week.

De-icing efforts continued on Thursday when some streets began to thaw, with concentrations on streets such as Lafayette Avenue, White Road and Hood Avenue that can become trouble spots because, due to the heavy presence of shade, they do no thaw as quickly.

The section of Lafayette Avenue in front of the Lafayette Education Center is notorious for icing since it experiences little direct sunlight. Hindman noted that Lafayette Avenue was treated three times on Thursday.

Peachtree City Public Works Superintendent Scott Hicks said the city operated two crews working 12-hour shifts beginning on Tuesday and ending Friday morning.

Hicks said crews spread 50 tons of sand and four pallets of calcium chloride on city collector streets and at the intersection of Ga. highways 54 and 74, in conjunction with DOT.

A sampling of the collector roads treated included Peachtree Parkway, Crosstown Drive, Kedron Drive, Wynnmeade Parkway, McIntosh Trail, Kelly Drive and Robinson Road, Hicks said.

No roads where these kids play: the snowy bottom of drained Lake Peachtree. Photo/Jennifer Vetter.