TxDOT preparing roads for winter weather conditions in East Texas

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TxDOT crews are preparing I-20 and other major roadways for winter conditions forecast for the area New Year’s Weekend and into next week.

Pre-treating operations using a brine solution began last week, targeting roadways and elevated structures that have the potential to freeze during winter conditions.

Brine is a salt and water solution applied to roadways creating a barrier that helps prevent ice and snow from sticking to the surface. It has proven to be a cost-effective and environmentally safer treatment than other anti-icing and de-icing applications allowing TxDOT to more effectively pre-treat roadways.

In addition to the pre-treatment, maintenance crews in the Tyler District’s 8-counties are readying equipment and materials to address roadway situations as weather conditions change.

Once winter conditions set in, crews will work 24/7 to monitor and treat roadways, especially highly exposed areas that are susceptible to wind and ice such as bridges, ramps and overpasses, to keep them passable and safe for travel.

Hazardous weather can unexpectedly change from freezing ice to snow and fog in some areas of the state. TxDOT works 24/7 to ensure our roads remain passable and safe year-round. Road Crews throughout the state are especially prepared to improve road safety during severe winter weather conditions.

Roadways are prioritized for clearing by Interstate, U.S. Highway, state highway and farm-to-market roads, as well as bridges, overpasses, high traffic interchanges and high traffic roadways. Local city and county entities are responsible for clearing local roadways. TxDOT works the most heavily traveled interstates, freeways and highways first. After these high priority roadways are passable, we focus on the less traveled routes.

Particular attention is given to bridges, high traffic interchanges and roadways. TxDOT uses snowplows, salt spreaders and liquid de-icing rigs to assist with de-icing/anti-icing of the roadways and bridges.

TxDOT stockpiles various types of de-icers and anti-icing agents for winter storms as well as sand or small aggregate. Because each winter storm is unique, TxDOT will use a combination of materials and equipment depending on the severity of the storm.

Safety tips for winter driving include:

• Avoiding unnecessary travel if conditions warrant.

• Knowing before you go. Check weather forecasts before departing and visit www.DriveTexas.org or call 800-452-9292 to check highway conditions and notices for road closures due to snow or ice.

• Being extra cautious on bridges, overpasses, ramps, turns and shaded areas that usually freeze first.

• Reducing speed and allow extra time to reach destinations.

• Increasing the following distance between you and other vehicles.

• If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes and steer into the direction of the skid.

• Staying back at least 200 feet from vehicles treating roadways, and move over for emergency vehicles.

• Being patient. Your trip time could increase when adverse weather conditions exist.

• Remaining in your vehicle. If stranded, please call 911 to alert emergency services.

• Assembling an emergency roadside kit, including a first-aid kit, booster cables, abrasive materials (sand or cat litter), flashlights, warm clothes, snacks and water.

If stranded during a winter storm, drivers are encouraged to call 9-1-1 to alert emergency services.

For more information, contact Kathi White at Kathi.White@txdot.gov or Marcus Sandifer at Marcus.Sandifer@txdot.gov or 903.510.9100. Follow TxDOT on Facebook and Twitter for updates on weather conditions and road closures.

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