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The original item was published from 2/19/2020 4:09:29 PM to 2/20/2020 8:05:00 PM.

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Posted on: February 19, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Public Works Pre-Treating Our Roadways

SUFFOLK, Virginia (February 19, 2020) - The National Weather Service in Wakefield has issued a Winter Storm Watch in effect from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning for Southeast Virginia to include the City of Suffolk.  They note that we can anticipate rain mixing with and changing to snow with accumulations of 2 to 3 inches, with locally higher amounts possible. 

In anticipation of potential inclement weather, the Public Works Department has started advance preparations to treat our roadways, bridges and overpasses. 

At noon today, Public Works crews began a pro-active treatment of Suffolk’s roadways by applying a brine solution at major bridges and overpasses. The brine solution (liquid Sodium Chloride) is used to prevent the formation or development of bonded snow and ice on the road surface. Brining will continue throughout the early evening, and crews will resume this work Thursday morning. Additional advantages of using the brine solution are as follows: 

Anti-icing returns road surfaces to normal faster, resulting in fewer accidents and delays.

Anti-icing can reduce airborne dust and salt particulates.

Salt needs moisture to be effective.  Applying brine jumpstarts the melting process.

Brine sticks to the road surface.  It will not be as easily blown off the road by wind or traffic, so material is more efficiently used.

If the storm is delayed, salt residue remains on the road surface, ready to begin work when precipitation begins.

Crews can begin treatment in advance of a storm.  Because anti-icing prevents the bonding of snow and ice to pavement, Public Works crews have less work to maintain safe roadways as the storm progresses.

Additionally, Public Works crews have inspected and fueled all necessary equipment, including snowplows and spreaders, to be ready to put into service if needed.  We are fully stocked with sand and salt for this season.  We will continue to monitor the weather forecasts and conditions and will adjust operations as needed.  Motorists are reminded to be aware of service vehicles in the roadways and to maintain a safe driving distance. 

Winter Weather Preparedness information can be found on the City of Suffolk website at

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