Colbert County changes winter weather roadway warnings

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – When winter weather strikes in the Tennessee Valley, one of the biggest concerns residents have are about road conditions.

And although we’re not expecting snow or ice in the coming days, winter weather travel has been on the minds of elected leaders for months.

One Shoals county has adopted a plan which will hopefully help people determine if it’s safe to drive or not, and it could go state wide.

The Association of County Engineers of Alabama has led a movement over the last several months to give uniform road condition notifications to residents.

“To try and come up with some type of legal verbiage that we could put out that would instruct motorists to stay off the roads without throwing the switch and saying the roads are closed,” Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton explained.

Melton said when a road is closed, they legally must put up barricades.  With 600 miles of roadways in Colbert County, Melton said that’s next to impossible.

So with some guidance, the Colbert County Commission approved another method to deal with hazardous road conditions.

“We need your help,” stated Melton. “We need you to recognize that the roads are not safe to be out on them unless it is a major emergency, please stay off of them. And that’s what we’re asking people to do.”

Melton said the message will state all roads and bridges should be considered IMPASSABLE until further notice.  At which point, Melton explained the public should consider suspending or even just delaying travel until conditions improve.

The Alabama Association of County Commissioners is urging each county to adopt this same statement to bring consistency.

According to Melton, Colbert County’s notifications will be sent out through the media, radio, and social media postings during severe weather events.