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'The perfect storm': KYTC Secretary says cabinet had commendable response despite the elements

Posted at 5:02 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 18:18:38-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — After a winter storm trapped many people in their cars for hours Thursday, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray shared planning for a storm event like this started in the summer.

“You have really, an extraordinary force of equipment that is placed in an event like this,” Gray said.

1,300 state or state-contracted plows were out when the storm hit, the number does not include county or city plows.

“We had the perfect storm."

Gray says the combination of heavy snow, frozen pavement, and the amount of traffic caused what happened on the interstates Thursday.

Heavy traffic made things difficult for plows and heavy equipment to maneuver through the interstate. Before plows could make their way through cars had to be moved.

“We were literally pulling cars - hundreds of vehicles - up the inclines to get them moving. “

Gray says that COVID has affected a crew or two, but they were fully staffed for Thursday's storm, and roads were pre-treated. Low temperatures can affect the road treatments and that seems to be what happened.

“I would say to anyone who was there that I, of course, regret that they’re in a situation like that. But the National Guard was there. The State Police was there. Our transportation dept folks were there. The dept of highways and everyone was there working hard. And these were extreme conditions.”

Gray admits there is always room for improvement but believes this was a commendable response.

“We’ll do an after-action report - as we always do, as the Cabinet routinely does - and where there are opportunities for improvement, we want to make those improvements.”