MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some Memphis roads have improved after a morning filled with drivers trying to maneuver over sheets of ice, and crews will be back overnight hoping to keep Memphians safe.
From the A.W. Bridge in downtown Memphis to the Jackson Avenue overpass and even a frozen Memphis tiger statue: it’s all just a sample of how icy conditions and Mid-Southerners just don’t mix.
These road conditions kept Memphis Public Works Division crews rolling throughout the city overnight and Thursday morning.
“Our crews started working at two of our facilities our salt and sand trucks. Those crews worked throughout the night monitoring the routes,” said Memphis Public Works Director Robert Knecht.
The routes of primary focus are heavily traveled slick bridges and inclines. To handle the roadways and tackle this kind of operation, the city has 7,000 tons of salt, 8,000 tons of sand and 16 trucks and drivers to monitor where it’s needed the most.
“They drive those and inspect them and determine based on the conditions whether they need to apply salt and sand,” Knecht said.
But tackling the icy road conditions can be a challenge in Memphis.
“Because we are primarily Southern, we don’t treat all the roads. We don’t have the capacity to treat all 6,000 plus lane miles of city streets,” Knecht said.
For the next 48 hours and until temperatures warm up, the city will continue to treat busy roadways.
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“It’s probably going to be a few days before we can get most of the conditions on bridges and overpasses to make sure we don’t have any freezing and refreezing overnight,” Knecht said.
And even when all of the ice is gone brace yourself for another headache: it’s the return of the dreaded Memphis potholes.
“Then after this, we’ll have some pothole issues because icing roadways generally lead to potholes, increased potholes,” Knecht said.
The public works director says for this winter storm, the city actually started putting out brine about two days in advance.