TxDOT defends response to winter weather


by ANDY PIERROTTI / KVUE News and Photojournalist SHAWN CLYNCH


Posted on January 24, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Before the icy road conditions and piles of pickup trucks stranded on MoPac Expressway Friday morning, KVUE warned drivers cold weather was on the way.

KVUE Daybreak meteorologist Albert Ramon told viewers Monday morning, "an arctic cold front moves in. This is the one we were talking about."

KVUE chief meteorologist Mark Murray also warned viewers beginning on Tuesday.

“With temperatures like this, some of it could refreeze to area roadways, especially bridges and overpasses," Murray said.

Austin police alone responded to about 250 accidents since Thursday night with few injuries reported. In total, the city responded to 64 reports of ice on the roads.

Some Austin drivers said they feel the Texas Department of Transportation could have done a better job preparing the roads for ice.

"I didn't see any de-icing at all. So, I don't think there is enough," said Ashley Morris, an Austin driver.

TxDOT spokesperson Kelli Reyna defended the agency. She said crews started treating the roads as early as Wednesday night. The agency also dumped a total of 250 tons of de-icing and sand throughout central Texas.

Reyna said drivers must take some responsibility.

"We can do our part, you know, and put material down to keep you safe, but it will not work if you continue to drive 60 miles per hour," Reyna said.

Despite all of the crashes in the city and the surrounding counties, Austin's top cop said he thinks TxDOT did a pretty decent job.

Responding through Twitter, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told KVUE, "We don't have this type of weather often. Consequently, we don't have overabundance of equipment. They did fine by us."