ABILENE – TxDOT’s Abilene District had a busy few days this week as winter weather blew into the area on Tuesday. All of the District’s 13 counties were affected by this storm, with those along and north of I-20 seeing the brunt of the ice.
Crew members started pre-treating Tier 1 and 2 roadways Tuesday morning before temperatures fell that afternoon. Brine was applied to roadways and structures to help discourage ice from forming on and bonding to pavement as freezing precipitation began to fall. This was no small feat – more than 68,000 gallons of brine was applied over 8,000 miles during ice prevention operations throughout the District.
As conditions deteriorated, the District Emergency Operations Center was activated and crews moved from pre-treatment to response operations. Eighty three crew members, plus support staff, responded to this winter weather event over three days. Crew members were placed on 12 hour shifts around the clock in order to provide continuous response and keep roadways as safe and passable as possible until temperatures rose and conditions improved.
During response operations, TxDOT used a combination of ice-fighting materials and equipment to ensure roadways remained open and passable. Materials included 1,116 cubic yards of salt, 783 cubic yards of aggregate, 52 tons of magnesium chloride granules and another 95,000 gallons of brine. The Texas A&M
Forest Service, several Taylor County precincts and a local highway contractor provided a total of 16 motor graders and several operators to help with slush and ice removal, and The Forest Service plowed approximately 600 lane miles of roadway in Nolan, Taylor and Callahan Counties. When it was all said and
done, 33 motor graders, 38 dump trucks with snow plows and spreaders, 27 brine spray rigs and nine pickup-mounted spreaders were mobilized during this event.
Now that the storm has moved out of the area, TxDOT Abilene turns its focus to replenishing stockpiles, assessing pavement condition and conducting inventory to make sure the District is ready for the next round of winter weather – whenever that might be.