Mid-South utility and road crews brace for winter ice storm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Mid-South is bracing for a winter ice storm, and preparations are underway to ensure roads are treated and crews are in place to restore utility power.

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“We would like for customers whose services are out not to assume that we know they are out. They must call in and report that outage, and once that outage is in our system, they [can] call back in and get updates on the restoration process,” said Gale Jones Carson with Memphis Light Gas and Water.

Carson said the utility has crews on standby to respond to outages. She said troubleshooters will be sent out immediately after storms hit to assess the damage. The utility will then know which crews to send.

MLGW employees will be working 24/7 in 16 hours shifts. Carson said their powerlines can handle up to a quarter-inch of ice, but problems arise when ice forms on trees and limbs fall onto powerlines.

Memphis Light Gas and Water said customers should report outages by calling 901-544-6500.

CLICK HERE to view the MLGW outage map.

PHOTOS: Timeline of icy weather in the Mid-South

Road crews are out around the Mid-South preparing the roads for ice, as well.

“Our guys are coming into the Memphis area around midnight, and what they’re going to do when they come in is load up and get ready to apply a layer of salt while it’s raining, and that will be our pretreatment for this event,” said Nichole Lawrence with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Lawrence said TDOT is monitoring river bridges, flyovers and overpasses as they are the first to freeze over.

Dave Parker with the Arkansas Department of Transportation said their department is ready for the storm.

“Well, the preparations started 48 hours ago. We got all the equipment in place, made sure it’s in good working order. We topped off all the various trucks with brine or rock salt, depending on what we were putting out, depending on the area, and of course, we got the staffing ready,” said Parker.

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