TxDOT preparing anti-icing system on MSF for winter - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/27/09

TxDOT preparing anti-icing system on MSF for winter

By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The cold weather may have you thinking about winter driving. After experiencing problems last season, NewsChannel 11 finds out if the anti-icing system on the Marsha Sharp Freeway is ready to go.

The anti-icing system is built into the fly-overs that connect the freeway to Loop 289. Basically, supply lines are embedded along the barriers, and nozzles spray magnesium chloride when the temperature and moisture levels reach a certain point. It's kind of like a yard irrigation system.

In January, the chemicals used to prevent icing started clogging the nozzles. Right now, TxDOT is in the process of running pre-winter diagnostic tests; they've been working to make sure the system is ready through the summer. "We've been testing the system all summer; it's been firing water, so occasionally if you drove on the direct connects this summer, and you noticed that they were wet, it was the system testing the connection, and it was shooting water onto the roadway," Dianah Ascencio with TxDOT said. 

Ascencio tells us the eastbound fly-over looks good, but the southbound fly-over does seem to have a communication issue between the system to one of the nozzles that sprays the chemical onto the roadway. She says they're working on the issue, and plan to have it corrected before the winter hits.

The loop connectors aren't the only fly-overs that have this system in Lubbock. The same system is built into the fly-overs at 19th Street, but they're not ready to go just yet. "Their built in, they just haven't been given the stamp of approval, the green light that all systems are working properly," Ascencio said. 

She says TxDOT plans to have both of the systems up and ready for the winter season. Something else interesting, Lubbock is the only city in the state to have this particular system in place.

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