Metro Detroit road crews preparing for first blast of winter weather

Posted at 4:39 AM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 17:21:25-05

(WXYZ) — A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for metro Detroit from 3 p.m. Monday until 12 p.m. Tuesday, and road crews around the area are gearing up for our first real blast of winter weather.

Related: Snow expected in metro Detroit to start the week – here's the timing and potential totals

It's looking like the mix of snow and rain is on track for Monday afternoon, but that means road crews are in preparation mode now.

The Oakland County Road Commission said while the show isn't coming until tonight, you may see some trucks pre-treating roads this morning. This year though, there's a new risk – COVID-19.

“During a big snow storm when we’re running around the clock, a lot of cleaning, a lot of disinfecting," Senior Communications Manager Craig Cryson said.

It's just one of the steps the commission is taking to try and avoid drivers getting sick.

So far this year, Bryson said they haven't had any outbreaks, but they have a plan in place should that happen.

“We have six different garages all around the county. So the idea would be if one garage went down or had a significant outbreak, our other garages would shift to help that garage," he said.

Oakland County is also in talks with surrounding counties in the event they'd need to step in and help one another with staffing.

Because of the pandemic, fewer people are on the roads, which Bryson said could help crews as they work to clear them.

“We use about 64,000 tons on average per year but we budget and contract for up to about 100,000 tons if needed in kind of a worse case scenario," he said. “One of the biggest challenges of this job this time of year is deciding whether or not to call in trucks, how many to call in.”

The commission's latest road sensors, equipped with temperature monitors and even cameras, provide the most up-to-date data to help crews make that call. The county now has six of them.

“In a county that’s 900 square miles, the conditions in Milford could very greatly from Oxford… or Madison Heights," he said.

Right now, the road commission is looking to hire part-time winter drivers.

Bryson said it's been a challenge finding that extra help, so if you're looking for work, consider checking them out.

One way you can help is if you don't need to be on the road, stay home.