AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) discussed winter weather preparations for the Austin area ahead of the cold season moving in on Nov. 10.
Among those preparations was the addition of three snowplows that can be used in the area when severe winter weather moves through.
Tucker Ferguson, the Austin district engineer for TxDOT, said winter storms in recent years – including Uri in February 2021 – led the department to acquire snowplows for future use.
"Uri two years ago and Landon last year; and even though we’ve only had a few, we felt that the time was right to add three plows to our fleet," he said during a media conference.
The plows were set to be replaced by TxDOT in Amarillo and were instead brought to Central Texas, where they were refurbished and prepared for use in the Austin area should another winter storm come through.
In addition to the snowplows, Ferguson said the department also increased the number of motor graders in response to Winter Storm Uri.
"Every storm is unique, and we learn lessons from each one of those and incorporate those lessons into future preparation so we can continue servicing the users of our highways," he said.
TxDOT also has 19 spray trucks to pretreat roads, 36 dump trucks with spreaders and 17 motor graders to tackle winter weather in the Austin area along with more than 272,000 gallons of brine to start the cold season and 1,850 tons of magnesium chloride to spread.
Ferguson said the local TxDOT area has 15 maintenance sections with additional crews throughout the district, making a total of 270 crew members available to help with any winter storm.
"As with any winter and weather emergency, we are prepared to make sure our major roadways are passable for those who need them most, specifically and especially for emergency responders," he said.
Ferguson also reminded drivers to remain vigilant during severe winter weather, stay home and only travel when extremely necessary.
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