Ice, snow making East Tenn. roads impassable, law enforcement asking everyone to ‘stay put’

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Law enforcement across the region are sharing a warning: Stay home.

Witnesses stuck in Sevierville traffic say Highway 66 has been at a standstill for some time, with motorists pulling off the road seeking shelter at nearby hotels.

Snowfall and plummeting temperatures are making many roads in East Tennessee impassable and dangerous.

“If you do not have to be on the roadways, stay off the roadways tonight and into the morning hours,” TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi said. “It gives our crews the extra room that they need to do their jobs efficiently, and most importantly to do their jobs safely.”

Sevierville Police Department is just one of many asking people to avoid getting out on the road, and to “stay put” if at all possible.

Road crew across East Tennessee were out salting and clearing roads. Campbell County Road Superintendent Ron Dilbeck said his crew is prepared to cover the 700 miles of road the department is responsible for clearing throughout the night.

“I think a lot of people got caught out. maybe doing last minute shopping, things like that,” Dilbeck said. “It got so treacherous so quick here in Campbell County. All at once it got bad.”

UPDATE (7:10 p.m. Dec. 24) — Knoxville Police are currently under Level 2 of their severe weather emergency plan. The department says response to calls may be altered or delayed.

“Interstates are passable but not advised,” a statement from KPD reads. “Please avoid the roads if at all possible.”

EARLIER:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Law enforcement across East Tennessee are activating their weather emergency plans as snow, rain and cold continue through the area.

The Morristown Police Department activated its inclement weather plan. Officers will respond to emergency calls for service and traffic crashes involving injury.

Motorists involved in crashes in which no one is injured are asked to exchange information at the scene and come to the Police Department after the weather clears for a report.

Knoxville Police also activated their plan.

“Most roads are impassable and there are crashes blocking several main routes,” a statement from KPD’s Facebook page states. “We are asking drivers to please stay off the roadways, if possible.”

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is also following its severe weather plan.

The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office warns that there are multiple reports of cars off the road in the county.

Mark Nagi, Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman, said the state road crews are starting to treat main roads in the Newport, Knoxville, Harriman and LaFollette.

“Crews will continue to treat and plow until all roadways are clear,” Nagi said. “It is anticipated that all will be working throughout the night as temperatures continue to drop.”

Sevierville Police are asking residents to use caution while driving, especially near bridges and overpasses. The department is shutting down Ridge Road due to road conditions.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park closed Little River Road from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the Townsend Wye at 4 p.m. today. Just after 5:30 p.m. the Gatlinburg Bypass was closed for ice and snow.

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