CTDOT commissioner addresses lack of pre-treatment on the roads before ice led to hazardous conditions

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Urgent alerts to stay home and off the roads went out to cities and towns across Connecticut on Wednesday as icy weather led to hazardous conditions for drivers.

“It literally was within a 15 minute period. It went from no big deal to get off the roads,” said Patti Albee of West Hartford.

Albee told News 8 her daughter left to catch the bus as usual. Her typical 25 minute trip to Hall High School ended up taking about two and a half hours.

“She was happy as could be, but I’m sure other kids were probably nervous not knowing what was happening,” Albee said.

Many superintendents were quick to call for delayed openings or to close school altogether.

“On a morning like this morning, superintendents are up at 4 a.m. or earlier looking at every piece of weather forecast trying to make our best decision,” said Dr. Anthony Gasper, Superintendent of Wolcott Public Schools.

Gasper explained how he made his decision.

“Early on, we were going to have a regular school day,” Gasper said. “What changed that was at about 6:20 in the morning, we got a call from the manager of our bus company saying the first two and three buses that were out were having trouble.”

Some questioned why more was not done to ahead of time to avoid situations like that. 

“People are asking, why didn’t we pre-treat?” said Joe Giulietti, Commissioner of the State Department of Transportation. “Because you cannot use brine when it’s going to rain. It washes right off. You use brine before snow.”

Once ice was down, DOT crews jumped into action and worked to make the roads safe.

“Had this happened a couple hours earlier or a couple hours later, we wouldn’t have had as much of a problem,” said Commissioner Giulietti.

Giulietti is urging everyone to be careful as we look ahead to more winter weather on Friday. He is also asking for everyone’s patience as they, like many, are experiencing staffing shortages because of the pandemic. 

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