Note: This story was last updated at 11:15 p.m.
Update: Driving conditions on main roads and side streets in Oak Ridge seemed to have improved by about 5 p.m. Wednesday, although there were still patches of ice and snow, including in shopping center parking lots.
Wednesday evening, the Oak Ridge Police Department said conditions had improved on main roads, but side streets were still extremely slick. Drivers should use extra caution if they have to get out tonight. There could be some refreezing on the roads overnight with the low temperatures. Oak Ridge Schools will be closed again on Thursday, January 18, due to the conditions.
A few inches of snow fell Tuesday, and road conditions are still bad Wednesday morning, especially in the city’s neighborhoods, the Oak Ridge Police Department said. The Y-12 National Security Complex and the Uranium Processing Facility offices are closed.
Oak Ridge Public Works Department crews are out clearing and treating the roads.
“If you must go out, please use extreme caution,” the ORPD said.
Y-12 said normal operations will resume Thursday, January 18.
Mark Nagi, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said East Tennessee interstates and state routes are in good shape this morning.
“But with temps staying low, motorists should be aware of possibility of black ice,” Nagi said. “Use caution if you have to be on the roadways.”
Local schools announced Tuesday that they would be closed Wednesday. Roane State Community College campuses will be closed.
The American Museum of Science and Energy said it will be closed Wednesday and hopes to reopen Thursday for regular operating hours.
City of Oak Ridge government offices won’t open until noon Wednesday. The city said household trash and recycling will not be picked up Wednesday due to road conditions, and service will resume Thursday, January 18.
The Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton and county government offices will be closed Wednesday because of the weather.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office said it would open at 10 a.m. Wednesday. So will DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information.
UCOR, DOE’s cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, said it has suspended routine work operations until further notice because of the hazardous weather conditions. Only those designated as essential personnel should report to work, and that includes subcontractors, UCOR said.
The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce said it would remain closed Wednesday morning because of the hazardous road conditions and plans to open at noon.
In Clinton, Public Works Director Lynn Murphy said single-digit temperatures on Wednesday morning would delay any improvements for local streets.
“Wednesday morning travel should be delayed, if at all possible, and attempts to drive on local streets without tire chains, studded snow tires, and/or four-wheel drive is not recommended,” Murphy said.
Clinton Public Works crews worked late applying rock chips to steeps hills and known problem areas, and the department was monitoring police and fire radio traffic and will automatically respond to help emergency units reach their destinations, Murphy said.
“Our staff will continue working to improve conditions, and with the help of some sunshine and warmer temperatures, street conditions will improve in a couple days,” Murphy said. “We ask for your patience, and your understanding of how the harsh temperatures affect our efforts.”
Residents should know that sidewalks, driveways, and uncovered porch surfaces can be slippery and hazardous, and extreme caution should be used outdoors, Murphy said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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