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File photo: Motorists inspect the damage after a fender bender in Pinehurst, Jan. 17, 2018. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

As the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) prepares for this weekend’s winter weather, North Carolinians are urged to get any food or other supplies they may need, because travel could be dangerous during the storm.

In the Sandhills area and central North Carolina, more than 186 employees started brining roads Thursday and will finish up Friday.

“Our crews and contractors are doing all we can to get ready for this storm and we ask North Carolinians to prepare as well,” said State Transportation Secretary, J. Eric Boyette. “Please make sure to plan ahead because this storm could impact travel around the state.”

NCDOT crews and contractors used hundreds of trucks Thursday and Friday to apply brine to roads from the mountains to the coast in advance of the winter storm. Brine, a cost-efficient mixture of salt and water, lowers the freezing temperatures on pavement and helps prevent ice from forming on roads.

Other crews are preparing chainsaws and other tools that will remove any downed trees.

After pre-treating the roads, crews will rest, then switch out brining equipment for plowing equipment to clear the roads of snow and ice for post-storm response.

“After the storm hits, please stay home and off the roads,” said NCDOT Chief Operating Officer Beau Memory. “NCDOT and contractor crews will do the best they can to clear roads as quickly as possible, but we ask everyone to be safe and stay patient.”

Similar to many industries nationwide, NCDOT staff and its contracting crews have been impacted by labor shortages and response times will likely not be as quick as in the past.

NCDOT and the State Highway Patrol plan from Saturday to Monday to tow any abandoned or disabled vehicles, as those could be dangerous for emergency responders and road clearing crews.

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