TxDOT prepares for winter on Central Texas roads

TxDOT shows media how it plans to handle winter weather. (Kevin Schwaller)
TxDOT shows media how it plans to handle winter weather. (Kevin Schwaller)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas Department of Transportation is getting equipment ready as it prepares for the possibility of snow, ice and freezing temperatures this winter season.

TxDOT officials showed media their plans for the winter, including putting down liquid magnesium chloride as a pre-treatment for roadways. Then, magnesium chloride in solid form goes on to help break up any ice.

“Every time we have a winter weather event, our TxDOT crews are going to do everything in their power to treat the roadways as best as possible,” Kelli Reyna, a TxDOT spokesperson said. “But at the end of the day we really need motorists to understand that there’s nothing that we can do that’s going to fully prevent the formation of ice.”

TxDOT says it has enough materials to last for a three-day winter event that hits all 11 counties in Austin’s TxDOT region. However, officials point out winter storms can hit isolated areas.

During an icing last winter, Austin police said they responded to 278 crashes from 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 to 10 a.m. on Jan. 24. TxDOT defended its actions at that time, saying 131 crews spent the night treating roads and retreating highways and overpasses multiple times. TxDOT also noted it used nearly 250 tons of material to help de-ice local highways.

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