State highway officials admit they did not treat highways ahead of freezing rain
Angry drivers took to social media Wednesday morning, blasting highway crews for not pre-treating the roads before they turned icy.
Police say there were 285 car crashes on Connecticut roadways because of the icy weather.
Stamford's public safety director says salting ahead of time wouldn't have helped much.
"Everybody's asking, 'Well, why didn't you put brine down on the roads?' For a rain event, we don't put down brine," said Stamford Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski.
Before a storm, road crews can spray a layer of rock salt or liquid brine that keeps ice from forming. But rain or wind can wash that layer away.
"You can't put salt down before unless, you know, it's actually going to be ice, because - again - the winds are just going to blow the salt right off," Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joe Guilietti said.
On Twitter, the state DOT called it a "perfect storm."
They said it was too cold for brine, which actually works as low as zero degrees. Then they said it was too windy for salt, even though overnight had light winds.
"This is not a snowstorm. This is a light rain that turned into ice on the road type storm. So that's the uniqueness of it," said Guilietti.
Frustrated drivers aren't so sure.
"I mean, now they have that improved salt, which dries up right away," said Norwalk resident Abdul Khan. Khan said he did not buy the officials' response.
"That's kind of weird. Yeah, I don't know why they didn't let the people know before that happened," said Alvaro Viegas, of Norwalk.
Snow is in the forecast for the state Friday, which will bring a whole new issue. About 40% of DOT drivers are currently out with COVID. The department does have private contractors available to help but expects the job to take longer than usual.