Plows worked round the clock to keep roads clear in southern Utah

Posted at 10:53 PM, Nov 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-17 00:53:47-05

CEDAR CITY, Utah – A winter storm Monday brought several inches of snow to Cedar City, but the Utah Department of Transportation prepared well in advance.

Crews began working before the snow fell.

That work included pre-treating the roads with brine. Later, 44 snow plows made round the clock trips between Scipio and St. George to try and keep the roads clear.

“We’ve done pretty well so far,” said UDOT District Four Engineer Jim McConnell Monday afternoon. “About a foot up around Brian Head, and up on Midway Flatt. In Cedar City we have about three inches.”

The snow continued throughout the day, but McConnell said his crew had been preparing for the snow season for months, getting material, tuning up vehicles and making brine.

Brine is used to pre-treat the roads before the storm hits. A new brine system was installed earlier this year and is making the process go a lot faster.

“It starts the snow melting before the snowplows get out there,” McConnell said.

The Brine Boss makes about 5,000 gallons of brine per hour. That same amount used to take a full sight hour work day with the old system.

Engineers said drivers reported seeing a difference, but brine can’t completely eliminate roadway snow dangers.

A car spun out on Interstate 15 in Cedar City around 12:30 p.m. Monday. Utah Highway Patrol said the driver was going too fast for the conditions.

“The car was only traveling 70 mph, the speed limit is 75,” said Lt. Steve Esplin. “However on a day like today it could be much less than that to be safe… just because it’s posted 75 or 80, doesn’t mean it’s OK.”

The storm is expected to pass overnight, but UDOT officials say that’s when black ice becomes the major danger. As temperatures drop into the 20s and teens, melted snow freezes and makes road slick.

UHP urges motorists to use extra caution the following days to avoid accidents.