MOUNT ASHLAND, Ore. — Only a couple of inches of snow is expected to fall near the Siskiyou Summit early Saturday morning, but some plows are already mounted to some of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s big rigs. They’ll be in the second year of a program that will let them use salt to clear up any slick spots. This in addition to a de-icer agent, all in an effort to keep I-5 open.
“It looks like we’re getting our first good dose of winter this weekend, so our crews are prepared. We’ve been getting prepared through the fall,” said Gary Leaming, ODOT representative
ODOT’s goal is to keep times where chains are required, or there is a hold or delay on the summit, to a minimum. At the Siskiyou Summit, this will be the second year salt will be used at times when de-icer isn’t effective.
“It was anecdotally very effective last year in keeping those numbers of chain requirements and holds down and keeping people on the move,” said Leaming.
The crews behind the wheel of ODOT’s big rigs will have a year of experience with salt under their belt.
“The crews got more comfortable with it as the winter went on. For instance, they would apply it on the fast lane and let it work, then plow it over to the slow lane and got double duty out of it that way,” said Leaming.
ODOT said it’s ready to go, and it hopes drivers are prepared too. Officials said this is the time of year to keep chains ready to go and to make sure cars are ready for winter driving. ODOT encourages anyone traveling this winter to visit their TripCheck website so they can know road conditions before they leave town.