WEATHER

UDOT started preparing early for Tuesday’s winter storm

Feb 21, 2023, 2:42 PM | Updated: 3:04 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Ahead of what it expected to be a big winter storm for most of the state, the Utah Department of Transportation planned to work overnight Tuesday to keep roads and highways clear.

“We’re just fixing odds and ends on our trucks,” said Robert Giolas, a station foreman.

The checklist is on for Giolas.

“We’re going through all our lights. Make sure they’re all good. Checking our tire pressure, all our moving points, make sure we grease them all that way,” Giolas said.

He said they will start rolling out once the storm hits with rain expected to hit first.

UDOT said maintenance and preparation on vehicles happens every snowstorm.

Heavy snowfall is predicted which means it’s all hands on deck for UDOT.

“We have four relief drivers coming in,” Giolas said.

Experts are warning Utahns to delay or postpone travel, beginning Tuesday afternoon, as the storm moves in.

“Winter’s not done with us yet,” said UDOT spokesperson John Gleason. “This is shaping up to be a pretty big storm.”

A winter storm warning goes into effect Tuesday afternoon for the northern Wasatch Front along with the Tooele, Rush, Utah and Salt Lake valleys. Most of the Interstate 15 corridor and I-70 will fall under a winter storm warning by early Wednesday morning.

Heavy snow will impact the Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning commutes, and UDOT has suggested considering leaving early Tuesday afternoon to avoid heavy snow during the evening commute.

Give the plow drivers time and space to do their job.

“Anybody with rear wheel drive, I prefer you stay at home. Leave it at home because that ties up a lot of UHP. They’re constantly pushing cars off the roads that have bad tires or have rear wheel drive and can’t get around,” Giolas added.

He said they also have the salt ready to go in the trucks. Right now, that means about 600 tons of salt. Giolas said crews have used as much as 400 tons for each of the last couple of storms.

With the latest storm on the way, residents in the foothills were already showing signs of winter fatigue.

Dan Ellis said Monday, with a winter season that seemed to start last fall around Halloween and continues to yield snow in late February, he was ready for something different.

“Yeah, I was ready about the end of January for spring,” he laughed.

Snow on the less sunny side of his street was still piled deep in spots, and the incoming storm only promised to refresh what had already melted.

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UDOT started preparing early for Tuesday’s winter storm