January 30, 2014

LATEST: Caution urged for motorists this a.m., especially on secondary roads

Drivers should exercise care in the Midlands, especially on secondary roads where ice could make the going “treacherous,” the S.C. Department of Transportation warned early Thursday morning.

“Icy conditions on roadways will continue to be a spotty problem,” said DOT spokesman Bob Kudelka in an email. He stressed travel on secondary roads is not recommended unless absolutely necessary.

Around the Midlands, where temperatures ranged from 12 to 18 degrees early Thursday morning, all routes - Interstate, primary and secondary roads - were generally free of snow and ice, but motorists are warned to be careful -- especially on Interstate ramps.

“Even on Interstates, which are generally clear, places like ramps or anywhere on the road that appears shaded, you might experience ice,” said S.C. Highway Patrol trooper Billy Elder.

The shaded areas could likely be snowmelt that refroze overnight and won’t melt again until sun hits it later in the day, Elder said.

Other places to exercise caution are tree-lined areas of secondary roads, he said.

DOT’s Kudelka said “ many pavements that were in wet condition during the day are being monitored and spreader crews will be available tonight to apply salt/sand/de-icing chemicals as necessary.

In the city of Columbia, Interim police chief Ruben Santiago said road conditions are generally very good but warned motorists coming into town Thursday to stay alert for ice.

“Roads are good. We had no accidents overnight. I just finished driving through the downtown area and didn’t have any problem,” Santiago said around 7 a.m.

However, Santiago, “We are still advising people to be cautious. Don’t assume because the roads are generally clear there isn’t an icy patch.”

That means, Santiago said, “Slow down, take your time, allow a little extra time to get to work.”

A common driving error in this type of weather is following too closely, he said.

So far, around the state 695 maintenance workers were continuing to be involved in road operations. They have spread 15,209 tons of salt, 5,087 tons of sand, 122,018 gallons of calcium chloride, 808,639 gallons of salt brine and the DOT had 402 pieces of equipment in use.

The Ravenel Bridge in Charleston was still closed due to icy conditions early Thursday. Statewide, all Interstate routes are open.

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