PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — State transportation and law enforcement officials are already looking ahead to prepare for the winter weather.

Leaders from the Illinois State Department of Transportation, The city and county of Peoria, and the Illinois State Police kicked off the “Winter Weather Get it Together” campaign Wednesday morning. Officers and plow crews will begin work for the winter season starting Thursday.

In our area, there are 316 miles of county roads to plow during storms and 17 snow routes that crews attend to. The Peoria County Highway Department stockpiles 9,000 tons of salt at its Maxwell Facility and 3,500 tons at the North Station. When there is a snowstorm, Peoria crews work 24-hours.

With winter right around the corner, Illinois Department of Transportation Operations Engineer Anna Ghidina wants to remind travelers to be patient when roads need to be plowed. “We ask the traveling public to take their time and allow us to do our job and get out there and clear the roadways.” She goes on to say, “It may take a little bit longer, but we are trying our best and we will always concentrate on the interstates and U.S. routes first, and then we will go onto the secondary routes and make sure everything is clear.”

Peoria County Highway Maintainer Kris Blayney says it’s important to keep mind of plows when you see them on the road or highway. “Give the plow, truck, anything with lights, give them space. Also if you have an issue, do not get out of your car, truck, anything, on the side of the road if at all possible. That’s just leaving a pedestrian with a bunch of vehicles driving around.”

Blayney says his job is important to him personally and safety is what really matters. “The less injuries, wrecks, people in the ditch, fatalities, any of that stuff on my road, the better for me, I personally think about that stuff when it happens.”

This winter, IDOT will deploy 1,801 snow plow trucks over 1,177 truck routes in Illinois.