Icy roads


Story by Matt Blois

Winter weather in Nashville can mean closed schools, icy roads and long days stuck indoors. Preparing for the weather ahead of time can alleviate some of the headaches. The Nashville Public Works Department, which has a supply of salt on hand already (photo above), has a few tips to make sure you’re safe during a winter storm.

1. Not all roads get salted and plowed

Not all of the roads in Nashville will be salted and plowed immediately. During a storm, the Public Works Department prioritizes clearing major roadways that lead to essential services. After clearing priority roads the city moves on to secondary routes.

Metro Nashville Public Works Communications Manager Cortnye Stone said that means there isn't usually a disruption to emergency services during a storm.

“Our crews do a pretty good job of quickly clearing the primary routes, and also the secondary routes, so that people don't have a lot of trouble accessing those emergency services,” she said.

The priority roads near Belle Meade and Green Hills are Harding Place, Woodmont Boulevard and Granny White Pike. The Tennessee Department of Transportation clears Hillsboro Pike.

2. Request snow and ice removal online

After clearing primary routes, the Public Works Department takes requests. Residents can submit a request to clear snow and ice online at nashville.gov. There's no guarantee it will respond to all requests, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

3. Public Works has plenty of salt for roads

Nashville has two ways to keep roads clear during a storm: salting and plowing. The Public Works Department sprays salty water or salt on the street to lower the freezing point of water. If there is more than half an inch of snow, the city breaks out the plows. Nashville has about 30 plows, salt trucks and brine trucks. The city typically has more than 8,000 tons of salt inventory on hand.

4. Call 311 or check social media during the storms

One of the quickest ways for Nashville residents to get information during winter storms is to call 311. The 311 service in Nashville answers frequently asked questions about the city. Residents can also look up information about streets—or almost any city services—at hub.nashville.gov.

5. Snow days can be fun, but stay safe

Nashville doesn’t have any ski resorts close by, but snow days can still be fun. Public Works’ Stone grew up in Nashville and recalls a winter storm right after Christmas. She got a vegetable processor for Christmas, and wanted to try it out.

“My mom bundled up in the snow storm and went to the grocery store and got me tomatoes and all the fixings for salsa,” she said. “We would not recommend now that people do that. If it's snowing, stay at home. Please do not buy your children produce.”

That’s the official advice during storms. Stay off the roads if you can.


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