As East Texans grapple with travel difficulties caused by freezing temperatures, TxDOT remains dedicated to tirelessly treating roadways to ensure safer conditions.
Since Friday morning, crews have been diligently preparing the roads by applying a brine solution. This solution, made by combining salt and water, is sprayed onto the roads to prevent precipitation from adhering to the surface.
As temperatures dropped and we ventured into the winter storm, TxDOT made a switch in their approach. Instead of using the liquid brine solution, they opted for a combination of granular material, sand, salt, and crushed limestone.
According to Jeff Williford, a spokesperson for TxDOT, the purpose of using a brine solution on the roads is not to improve traction but rather to prevent moisture from sticking. He explained that at certain temperatures, the brine solution is not effective in providing traction, which is why granular material is applied to ensure better traction and safety on the roads.
In addition, they have taken to the streets, providing de-icer materials to assist in this endeavor.
Currently, TxDOT reports that the main lanes of their tier 1 roadways, including I-20, US 271 in Smith County, SH 110 in Smith County, and SH 31 in Gregg County, are in good condition. However, they mention that certain ramps on I-20 in Smith, Van Zandt, and Gregg Counties are still undergoing maintenance.
Road work is still ongoing on FM roads across the eight-county district (Anderson, Cherokee, Gregg, Henderson, Rusk, Smith, Van Zandt, and Wood County). The work is expected to continue throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday.
According to Williford, they are currently considering maintaining 24-hour operations until Wednesday. However, they will continue to monitor the weather conditions and make any necessary adjustments accordingly.
Once the winter event concludes, the focus will shift towards repairing any damage caused to the roadways. Extreme cold temperatures have the potential to result in various issues, particularly the formation of potholes.
TxDOT is urging East Texans to prioritize their safety during this time.
According to Williford, it is highly advisable to stay at home if there is no need to go out. This is the safest option during these times. However, if leaving the house is necessary, it is crucial to exercise extreme caution while driving. This includes being mindful of speed limits and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. Williford emphasizes the importance of following these guidelines to prioritize everyone’s safety.
If you want to know the current road conditions in your area, simply click here.