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Crews Hit The Road Ahead Of Freezing Rain

By: Amy Wadas and Bryant Reed/KDKA-TV

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - As the temperatures drop and the rain turns into ice and snow, Pittsburgh is getting ready to battle the winter weather.

The weather is supposed to impact plenty of people and hold everybody inside, as KDKA meteorologists are expecting, with ice taking over city streets.

At an event, Mayor Ed Gainey said each snow or ice response has gotten better since he's been in office.

Although they aren't available to fight the pending winter storm, Gainey's office has ordered six new snowplow trucks and is renting an additional six trucks to help with snow removal. It's been a challenge for the city at times to clear streets, despite working overtime, due to maintenance issues and supply chain problems.

The good news though: 32 trucks have already hit the road. When the freezing rain starts, they'll begin to spread salt. They couldn't pretreat roads because the rain would wash it away.

WATCH: KDKA's Bryant Reed reports

Mayor Gainey says with the impending weather, they're asking everybody to stay home if they don't need to be out.

"We're putting out the best manpower, the best personnel power, that we can do to make sure we have these streets covered. But while we're doing that, there's also some other things. I know we'll be closing down some streets. We're asking people, please, if you don't have to go out, please stay in. Make sure you have the proper supplies you're going to need because we don't know how much ice is coming to what degree. We never know until it gets here but we're continuing to get better."

PennDOT says their crews are also ready. They've been out all day monitoring conditions in Allegheny County, just waiting for the roads to start icing over.

Crews are able to monitor changing road temperatures using their trucks. That way they'll know when it's time to put the salt down and get to work.

"Our trucks have sensors on them to monitor the road temperatures so in addition to monitoring air temperatures we can also watch road temperatures including on interstates very closely," said Lori Musto, Assistant District Executive for Maintenance for PennDOT District 11.

Musto said crews are able to put an anti-skid mixture on secondary streets to give more traction to help with the ice. However, she says they can't do that on the interstates because cars will end up with broken windshields after the rain is finished.

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