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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2014

IDOT Winter Crews Clean Up, Prepare for Heavy Snowfall on Illinois Roads
Snow Accumulation, High Winds, Freezing Rain Forecasted

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that winter weather crews are cleaning up from this weekend’s storm to prepare for the forecasted snowfall expected on Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service forecasted snow accumulations of five to nine inches throughout Illinois. Forecasters also warn of high winds up to 25 mph in some areas. The anticipated winter weather will create slick and dangerous travel conditions for motorists.

IDOT is readying its fleet of 1,755 snow plows and 3,700 employees ahead of the next winter storm to remove snow and ice from state routes to help ensure the safety of the motoring public.

Due to the anticipated weather conditions, IDOT encourages motorists to check winter road conditions and road closures at www.gettingaroundillinois.com before heading out. Currently, all state routes are open. However, Kampsville and Brussels Ferries remain closed, due to ice. Cave in Rock Ferry reopened on Sunday. IDOT will continue to monitor the winter weather statewide and respond accordingly.

“Illinois is expecting heavy snowfall and high winds, which will have significant impact to travel conditions throughout the state. Roads and bridges will be extremely slick and visibility will be low as a result of the blowing and drifting snow,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Motorists are advised to only travel if absolutely necessary for their own safety and to allow IDOT crews to clear critical areas. For those who must travel, take it slow, give plow drivers plenty of room to work, buckle up and avoid distractions when behind the wheel.”

Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow and ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during winter storms or when temperatures are extremely low. During the severely cold weather expected, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair, and bring pets indoors.

For a list of warming centers in Illinois, visit
http://www2.illinois.gov/KeepWarm/Pages/warmingcenter.aspx. Those traveling by Amtrak trains are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices.

Safety tips to remember:

• Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.
• Don’t crowd the plow – a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
• Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas - all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.
• Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
• Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary - if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
• Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
• Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.
• Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).
• Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.
• Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.



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