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news release

Contact: John Dourgarian
RELEASE: December 12, 2001

NJDOT Ready And Waiting For Winter 2001-2002

Salt storage bins have received deliveries and plow trucks readied as the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) completes its preparations for the upcoming 2001-2002 winter weather season.

“As always, we are prepared for whatever may come our way,” said Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco. “We may have had a mild season in terms of hurricanes, but Mother Nature may have another severe winter in store for us. When it comes to snow and ice, we practice a simple rule of thumb: prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

Over the past seven years, the Department has built additional salt storage buildings and increased the number of remote weather sensor stations that monitor roadway and atmospheric conditions, noted Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein.

The NJDOT will begin the snow season with approximately 137,000 tons of salt on hand for use on New Jersey's 16,000 lane miles of interstate and state highways. NJDOT also has 513,000 gallons of liquid calcium on hand, which is mixed in with the salt to increase its effectiveness. An average winter requires more salt and liquid calcium than we can store, so replenishing early and often is a major component of our work during the winter.

From a materials standpoint, we're ready to fight the war on winter weather, Weinstein said. Not only is it important to be prepared with equipment, personnel and materials, but also to know specific roadway and weather conditions in different areas of the state. Our use of technology helps us in this effort.”

The department has a total of 31 remote weather stations along the state highway system. These stations provide detailed information on weather and road conditions in specific regions of the state. The data provided by these stations includes air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, road and bridge surface temperatures, whether the pavement is wet or dry, whether the salt has been applied and the type and intensity of precipitation.

These weather stations augment weather forecasts supplied to NJDOT by a weather forecasting company.

In New Jersey, we have a wide variety of weather, Weinstein said. AA storm that produces rain and sleet in southern New Jersey, can blanket the elevated portions of northwestern New Jersey with a foot of snow. The remote weather sensor stations allow us to tailor our salting and plowing activities based on the conditions in the local area.

NJDOT has more than 600 trucks ready to plow snow and spread salt. In the event of a major storm, NJDOT will augment its forces with up to 1,100 contractor trucks. Contractors have been assigned specific highway segments and will be called out on an as-needed basis.

In addition, the department has nearly 300 volunteer plow operators, drawn from the ranks of the state workforce, it can call out if needed. Volunteers must possess a commercial driver=s license and undergo special training for the safe operation of snow plows and salt-spreading equipment.

The NJDOT also coordinates snow removal activities with the state=s other transportation agencies and State Police from its Emergency Control Center, or Snow Room, located at department headquarters in Ewing Township.

The Department has budgeted $12.7 million for winter weather operations in 2001-2002.

To assist the NJDOT in its salting and plowing operations, motorists are reminded that parking along state highways is prohibited during storms. Individual driveways are not plowed or cleared by NJDOT forces. To prevent driveways from becoming blocked from plowed snow, residents should clear a portion of the highway shoulder immediately adjacent to their driveway

EDITOR'S NOTE: A special winter weather telephone number is available for media use only (see attached). In order to keep a priority line open for the media, we ask that this number not be provided to the general public.

News media interested in a more extensive look at the NJDOT's Snow Room operation can arrange for a tour through the NJDOT Communications Office at (609) 530-2124.

2001-2002 NJDOT Winter Preparation Facts

Materials and Facilities

137,000 tons of rock salt on hand.

513,000 gallons of liquid calcium.

5,800 tons of abrasives (sand, etc.)

Additional materials are scheduled as necessary.

73 maintenance yards across the state.

74 salt storage facilitates statewide, including 47 domars and 27 sheds.


637 pieces of NJDOT snow fighting equipment, including trucks with plows, graders and loaders.

1,100 contractor plows available in the event of a major storm.

190 additional pieces of contractor equipment, including graders and loaders.

32 remote roadway weather sensing stations across the state.


760 regular NJDOT maintenance staff.

300 trained volunteers drawn from other NJDOT divisions or other state agencies.

Volunteers must possess a CDL and undergo special equipment training.


$12.7 million budgeted for snow removal, including materials and overtime.

Nearly 16,000 lane miles of highway, including shoulders and ramps, NJDOT is responsible for plowing.

Past Winters

2000-2001 -- $29 million spent, 200, 359 tons of salt spread, 49.8 inches of snow statewide.

1999-2000 -- $13.1 million spent, 85,500 tons of salt spread, 24 inches of snow statewide.

1998-1999 -- $13.4 million spent, 86,000 tons of salt spread, 14 inches of snow statewide.

1997-1998 – $7.6 million spent, 46,000 tons of salt spread, 8.9 inches of snow statewide.

1996-1997 -- $13 million spent, 98,000 tons of salt spread, 16.8 inches of snow

1995-1996 -- $40 million spent, 218,000 tons of salt spread, 83 inches of snow statewide.

NJDOT Emergency Service Patrols

NJDOT’s Emergency Service Patrol (ESP) program commenced in 1992. Since its inception, the program has aided approximately 200,000 motorists. On average, the north and south ESP units assist 11,500 motorists annually. ESP vans and trucks are painted white with orange lettering and are equipped with first aid kits, jacks, traffic cones, fire extinguishers and tools for minor repairs. ESP drivers wear bright orange uniforms and carry official identification badges, and patrol 200 miles of highway statewide.

ESP North (Morris, Passaic, Essex, Bergen, Somerset and Middlesex counties)

I-80, I-280, I-287, Route 440.

ESP South (Burlington, Mercer, Gloucester and Camden counties).

I-295, I-676, I-76, I-95, I-195, Route 55, Route 42, Route 29.

Hours of Operation

4:00 am to 8:30 pm, Monday through Friday and expanded hours on most holidays.


54 personnel statewide, working out of Hanover and Cherry Hill.


31 vehicles statewide.


$5.7 million statewide.

New Traffic Operations Center South – Cherry Hill

The new South Region Traffic Operations Center (TOC) opened on July 17, 2001. From this location, over 40 cameras can be monitored on a state of the art video wall. The 1,350 square foot TOC has 10 workstations that allow Operations and N.J. State Police to staff the center during emergencies.

The following equipment items are controlled by the TOC:

40 cameras on routes 1, 37, 42, 73 and 76.
8 permanent variable message signs located on the above routes.
7 portable variable message signs.
50 traffic signals on routes 37 and 73.
3 permanent highway advisory radios located in Edison, Lawrenceville and Deepwater.

The TOC is staffed 16 hours a day, 5 days a week. It is also operational on most holidays, or during emergency situations, and summer weekends. Normal staffing consists of a shift supervisor, 2 dispatchers, and 2 operators

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  Last Updated:  March 30, 2007