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Grading TDOT’s Response After The Ice Storm

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(Memphis) Slipping, sliding and sitting idle, that's what many motorists went through when winter weather hit Memphis.

Monday night became a big waiting game for many drivers.

Kevin Collier got caught in the middle of it all, "There were a lot more crashes than there needed to be. We were stuck on I-40 in Arkansas for three hours."

Roads like Highway 385 were covered with sheets of ice too, forcing parts of the road to be shut down.

Department of Transportation trucks were called out to put down sand.

Tuesday night, parts of Highway 385 were closed again.

That meant another call to TDOT.

"They could have done a better job, could have come through earlier. They knew the weather was coming, had to. They could have already been out before the weather got here and it wouldn't have been like that and had the chance to ice really," says Collier.

TDOT officials tell us their crews were proactive, working on specific routes and putting down salt in cycles.

"When they run a cycle it will be a matter of time before they get back to that location and in that time things can get slick," said B.J. Doughty, Director of Communications for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Dought says freezing rain washes away salt and roads have to be re-treated.

She also says TDOT work crews have to maneuver through the same traffic as motorists to get back to those slick spots.

We asked TDOT how it would grade itself on the job done to keep roads open.

"We don't issue ourselves grades. Each storm is individual," says Doughty.
"I would say our crews as always during winter weather, they work as hard as they possibly can."

Some drivers  think TDOT handled it  well.

"I think the did an ok job as far as I was concerned. I think they did pretty good," says motorist Tracey Swindle.

Those stuck on the road for three hours aren't so giving.

"If you had to grade them, grade them from A to F, what grade would you give them for the roads?" we asked.

"Like a 'D' . Just too many crashes we saw, literally a hundred crashes on that road," says motorist Kevin Collier.

TDOT officials say their crews were working 48 hours straight.

They say they plan to do an after-storm review, looking at all areas around the state, to see what they can do better.