With freezing rain warnings and advisories being issued on Thursday, highway crews across the province were prepared.
Tom Lees, assistant deputy minister for the Operation and Maintain Division with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, said the salt and sand trucks are out before, during and after events like freezing rain.
It starts with a pre-treatment of the major highways, which involves a solution of liquid calcium which helps prevent the rain from freezing onto the surface of the road. This is done on busier roads like Highway 1, 11 and 16. Crews are also out during the storm, treating the ice with salt and sand and again afterwards to keep the highways clear.
“When we do pre-treating, we certainly can’t do it on all of our road network. Our higher volume roads where we have lots of traffic going back and forth, they work well,” said Lees.
In this case, the recent warm weather helps. Lees said optimum conditions for use of the pre-treatment are when the pavement is bare, but that doesn’t mean they don’t use it in worse road conditions.
Lees also warned the public that the warmer-than-average winter weather doesn’t always make for great road conditions.
“Snow is easy to remove but when you get to this 0 to -5, we get the freezing rain, that’s actually more difficult for us to maintain,” said Lees.
He explained crews maintain the highways on a priority level, focusing on the higher volume roads first.