DOT and SCE&G plan for safety during winter blast

By Stacy

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- At the South Carolina Department of Transportation Charleston County headquarters, piles of salt and a tank of salt-water brine wait, ready to treat our Lowcountry roads and bridges.

And two rarely-used snow plows are on standby for the Lowcountry's winter blast.

"We have monitors on all bridges. We know when the temperature gets to the freezing mark," SCDOT spokesman James Law said.

The DOT will try to keep bridges and roads open as long as it can, but law enforcement will decide when they need to close, Law said.

"If you don't have to go out and don't have to drive, don't," he said. "Of course, we try to keep roads open as long as we can. We try to keep them as safe as we can. A lot of people in the Lowcountry aren't used to driving on the ice," Law said.

The DOT keeps all its salt used to treat roads in six counties at the shed in North Charleston. One Monday, crews broke up the salt because some of it may not have been touched in years.

"We're preparing for power outages," SCE&G's Kim Asbill said.

SCE&G customer service representatives will work 12-hour shifts Tuesday and Wednesday, Asbill said. Officials asked residents to call SCE&G if your power goes out or if you see a downed power line.

"Our biggest concern right now is the ice on the trees. What that does is it weighs down and will break branches off and the branches will fall on the power line," Asbill said.

Don't assume anyone else has made the call if your power, or lines, went down, she said.

If roads get closed, the electric company trucks will not be able to get out to fix downed power lines. Officials recommend stocking up on the essentials and charging cell phones before the storm. Also never touch a downed power line; it could be live.