Crews prep for snow, slick roads

OKLAHOMA CITY - A flake of snow isn't expected for hours, but Mike Love Jr. and his team have already mobilized, preparing the city for a winter storm.

"We've been laying and making salt brine since 7 o'clock this morning," he told NewsChannel 4, driving over a bridge and deploying the salt-water mixture. "Any prep for a snow or ice event is usually pretty busy. The first few days leading up to, we try to track the weather as best as anyone can in Oklahoma."

The public works department has plows affixed to its trucks, ready to deploy them when the snow is forecast to fall.

Its fleet of 28 trucks can be expanded to 34 if necessary, staffed by waves of 75 employees, working in 12-hour shifts.

"We're proactive when it comes to winter weather events," said Mark Holland, who supervises the department's field operations. "We set a plan in motion about two days ago, getting ready for this upcoming event. It can be very strenuous and very stressful on the drivers and, obviously, if it's during rush hour with a lot of traffic on the road, there's a lot you have to deal with - safety and concern of the citizens."

On average, drivers cover 200 miles a shift, patrolling the sprawling city.

Driving every one of Oklahoma City's lane miles is like taking a road trip to Las Vegas.

But, before the storm even hits, crews are pre-treating bridges, overpasses and other trouble spots.

"Everything we do is geared toward helping the citizen the best we can with the conditions, but it's kind of a team thing," Love said. "We all need to drive safe and be a little more cautious when we know the weather is going to be foul."

Click here to see Oklahoma City's snow routes.

The city expects to be more prepared than it was during last month's freezing mist, which caused more than 100 wrecks and three fatalities and quite literally slid into town under the radar.

"That storm hit right at rush hour, and it was actually a lot of issues with traffic," Holland said. "Everybody getting off work at the same time and, while we were out there, we were like everybody else. We couldn't get around."

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has crews stationed in every county.

By the numbers, that's 550 trucks carrying 145,000 tons of salt and salt/sand mix.

Its crews have also been closely monitoring the weather and are urging anyone who doesn't have to be out to stay home.

Drivers can monitor road conditions by clicking here.