WDOT crews start prepping the roads before the New Year's Eve storm hits - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WDOT crews start prepping the roads before the New Year's Eve storm hits

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- The New Year's Eve storm was in full swing by Thursday afternoon, but prepping for snow starts early.  

Snow plowers start the day at 4:00 a.m. The snow, not falling yet, but it's important to get the ramps pretreated for the impending storm.

"Traffic will work salt into the asphalt when it starts snowing and we start getting moist the salt will melt it," said Laura Newman, Washington State Department of Transportation.

The pre-treatment is a combination of salt and liquid de-icer. It comes out of the truck onto this thing called a spinner that mix the combination making it into a paste which sticks to the road better.

Newman's in charge of the ramps and overpasses on I-82 starting at North First Street going to Valley Mall Boulevard. Each ramp has several directions so it takes multiple loops to get them covered.

For DOT crews holiday storms are the worst because of increased traffic.

"You know we're driving at 35-40 miles per hour putting the salt on the road and you got people going every which directions around you cause you're holding them back," said Newman.

It takes a little over an hour to pre treat the ramps, where Newman leaves off crews from Toppenish and Naches will pick-up. The de-icer paste had to be down before the snowfall or else the plows would just scrape it off. As the storm picks-up the DOT plans to have plows on the road in Thursday night.