Travel advisory still in effect for Colbert and Franklin Counties

Many secondary roadways in Colbert and Franklin Counties still have ice and snow on them almost 24-hours after Tuesday's snow storm hit the Shoals. Both counties deemed roads impassible as Tuesday's storm started to worsen road conditions.

Posted: Jan. 17, 2018 5:32 PM
Updated: Feb. 22, 2018 8:36 AM

Many secondary roadways in Colbert and Franklin Counties still have ice and snow on them almost 24 hours after Tuesday's snow storm hit the Shoals. Both counties deemed roads impassible as Tuesday's storm started to worsen road conditions.

The Alabama Department of Transportation has cleared mostly all of the state highways in Colbert, Lauderdale, and Franklin Counties. Both Colbert and Franklin County Emergency Management Directors tell WAAY 31 they haven't lifted the travel advisory because many rural roads in each county are still frozen over and dangerous to drive on.

Places like Colbert Heights that sit up on higher elevations still looked like a winter wonderland Wednesday with snow-covered homes and yards, but ice and snow also still covered the roads, like Woodmont Drive near Colbert Heights High School.

Colbert EMA officials say anything the sun melting Wednesday will re-freeze later on, and travel will become dangerous because of black ice. For people living in Colbert Heights they tell us it's risky driving on these roads after dark because of the hills.

"If they re-freeze it's going to be hard to travel back to school and work," said Chloe Henson.

Tad Drake, the owner of the Colbert Heights Cafe, opened up his shop on Wednesday. He said he wanted to get out of the house and only has to walk to work.

"I think if you're on the mountain stay on the mountain, and if you're at the bottom of the mountain stay at the bottom. We're here to serve everybody on top of the mountain and we want to keep it as safe as possible," said Drake.

EMA officials are urging people to stay off the roads in Colbert and Franklin Counties Wednesday night because of the black ice threat. Shoals area saw about 50 weather-related car crashes Tuesday.

Colbert and Franklin Counties saw about 30 weather related crashes. Florence police said they worked about 18 wrecks as Tuesday's storm wreaked havoc on the roadways.

Andy Smith owns Andy's Wrecker Service in Colbert County. He says he pulled about 20 people out of ditches on Tuesday and even had some calls Wednesday as well.

Smith said while winter storms are good for business and keeps them busy, he wishes people would just stay home and safe. He believes speed and distractions play a huge role in wrecks during snow storms. Smith said people need to be alert driving all the time but even more so if the roads are slick.

"Try to drive about 10 to 15 mph slower than the posted speed limit on icy roads," said Smith.

Colbert and Franklin County EMA officials said if the temperatures warm up on Thursday and help melt the rest of snow and ice off their secondary roadways they could lift the travel advisory.

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