TxDOT crews ready for upcoming winter season

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – TxDOT El Paso District maintenance crews are preparing for the upcoming cold season by meeting with staff, neighboring districts, and counties, ensuring needed winterizing and treatment material is stockpiled, testing and installing all winter equipment, ensuring radio communication is in place, and coordinating personnel schedules.

Due to the size of the TxDOT El Paso District and the allocation of resources, roadways in the six-county area are prioritized during an event, with I-10 taking top priority followed by high travel, high population US and state highways in the rural counties that connect area cities to that region’s only hospital in Alpine.

“The safety of our employees and the traveling public is our priority,” said TxDOT El Paso District Engineer Tomas Treviño. “We want to be proactive as it is critical to be ready for inclement conditions, and it is safer to pretreat roads ahead of any storm.”

  • TxDOT El Paso District maintenance crews. Photo: Shaun Felice / KTSM
    TxDOT El Paso District maintenance crews. Photo: Shaun Felice / KTSM
  • TxDOT El Paso District maintenance crews. Photo: Shaun Felice / KTSM
    TxDOT El Paso District maintenance crews. Photo: Shaun Felice / KTSM
  • TxDOT El Paso District maintenance crews. Photo: Shaun Felice / KTSM
    TxDOT El Paso District maintenance crews. Photo: Shaun Felice / KTSM

Crews winterize roads by applying brine, a salt and water mixture, ahead of freezing temperatures. It is a fast-moving operation that has minimal impacts on the traveling public. Drivers will see a three-vehicle moving convoy with brine treatment signs and should stay within the mobile operation. Should drivers get brine on their vehicle, rinse the affected area with water.

Teams consider different factors ahead of winterizing roads, including moisture, temperature, area of the district being affected, response capability of the affected maintenance sections (which may require mobilization of crews from other parts within the district or neighboring districts), and the National Weather Service forecast. While all bridges will freeze before the pavement, there are a few locations in the six-county region that are most critical and most challenging for crews to maintain, especially along the 186 miles of the IH-10 corridor.

The TxDOT El Paso District covers six counties (Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio) with more than 100 roadway maintenance employees, including maintenance support technicians, using 53 snowplows and 11 brine applicator trucks.

Motorists SHOULD NOT crowd the plow and SHOULD increase their distance.

As always, the traveling public should only travel if necessary, during a winter event. Road conditions can be tracked on drivetexas.org.

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