Ice Sensors Keep Problem Bridges Safe

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(Tate County, MS) North Mississippi’s most dangerous stretches of road during snow and ice events are the bridge over the Coldwater River and another along Interstate 69, just outside Hernando.

New sensors at both locations are giving workers a heads-up before deadly ice can build up on those bridges.

The bridge over the Coldwater River and its wetlands is marked with places where drivers can lose control, often in icy conditions.

It’s enough to keep motorists like Maura Bahn, off the road.

“I wouldn’t drive on it on purpose.”

The ice detector keeps an eye on the road and weather conditions, and warns transportation workers about the formation of ice.

”It monitors the moisture conditions on the bridge as well as the temperature and dew points. It gives you an idea of when conditions are right for freeze or icy conditions,” said Mississippi Department of Transportation District Engineer Mitch Turner.

Because there’s no warm soil under the bridge to keep it insulated, the cold air wraps around it, turning the bridge into a giant ice cube tray.

The ice monitor senses the formation of ice and sends an e-mail to transportation supervisors so they can get on top of the problem before anybody spins out.

”We typically already have people out, It just lets us know that we need to have trucks goin’ that way,” said Turner

He adds these devices are already common up north and he hopes Mississippi will invest in more of them, so he can melt the ice and make the roads safer before anybody has an accident.

The two sensors in North Mississippi just went up this year, and Turner says so far, they’re a great asset.

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