TxDOT prepares for another round of ice, sleet and snow

Icy sign at Riverside Drive and State Highway 71 East (Ed Zavala/KXAN)
Icy sign at Riverside Drive and State Highway 71 East (Ed Zavala/KXAN)

Another blast of winter weather is expected to push through the Austin area overnight, and Texas Department of Transportation crews are again gearing up for more ice, sleet and snow.

TxDOT said equipment had been staged throughout the area and crews were out pre-treating bridges and overpasses after the rush hour on Monday.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority was also working with TxDOT to pre-treat elevated roadways along the 183A Toll Road and the Manor Expressway (US Highway 290 West) starting at 8 p.m. Monday.

After last weeks ice storm crippled Austin roadways, TxDOT defended their response despite several road closures and hundreds of crashes.

“We were out there,” said TxDOT spokesperson Kelli Reyna. “And didn’t treat roads just once, we treated them repeatedly.”

Austin police said they responded to a staggering 278 crashes from 6 p.m. on Jan. 23, to 10 a.m. on Jan. 24.

“We can do our part and put material down,” Reyna added, “but it will not work if you continue to drive 60 mph.”

The Austin District coverage area includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson Counties.

The department says sleet, ice and freezing rain can create extremely dangerous driving conditions, which is why they strongly advises drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible.

If drivers must be on the road, please remember to:
• Reduce speed
• Increase following distance
• Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, and overpasses
• Stay back at least 200 feet from vehicles treating or clearing roadways
• If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes and steer in the direction of skid
• Avoid unnecessary travel

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