TXDOT Crews Work Nonstop for Safe Driving Conditions - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/23/04

TXDOT Crews Work Nonstop for Safe Driving Conditions

Lubbock drivers begin their holiday travels this weekend and TXDOT workers are doing what they can to make sure roads are safe. And what happens behind the scenes when the snow falls is perhaps the most important safety measure.

Winter Driving
Winter driving involves some dangerous situations that only occur at this time of year. The hours of darkness increase while daylight hours decrease. Together with fog, rain, snow, sleet, and ice, this problem greatly increases the dangers of driving in the winter months.

People who are behind the scenes never seem to get much credit. Without TXDOT crews working overtime, literally, that would not be the case. The scene Wednesday was snowy and icy, it obviously caused a transportation nightmare. By Thursday, most of the roads were driveable thanks to a handful of dedicated workers.

TXDOT worker, Mingo Saldana said, "as opposed to a warm comfy bed, or your room, of course you'd rather be there. But it's part of the job being out there keeping it safe."

Eight crews cleared the roads with magnesium chloride, or meltdown, which is much more expensive than plain salt. Two semi-truck loads of meltdown costs $20,000. It's supposed to keep your vehicle rust free, and it's better for the streets.

TXDOT Maintenance Supervisor, Shi Dotson said, "You see all the repairs to the structures they've been doing around the loop, that's caused from salt. It eats through the pavement down to the steal structure causing that damage. This is supposed to be a lot less corrosive on structures."

Wednesday, crews cleared city streets and highways, Thursday they hit the county roads. So just remember those who work nonstop to turn a winter wonderland into smooth driving conditions.

"The weather prediction is fixing to come in Christmas Eve, that's going to be a damper on ours, but it's part of the work, you know," said Saldana.

How to Handle Your Car on Snow and Ice
Find out how to handle your car on slick, icy roads.

Just in the last few days, TXDOT has gone through about $22,000 worth of meltdown and they now have to order more.

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