TxDOT preparing for more winter weather to move into the area

With more than 9,000 miles of roadway in the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Amarillo District, snow and ice removal during and after a winter storm is a major operation utilizing hundreds of employees and pieces of equipment.  Each of the Amarillo District’s 18 maintenance sections follows a district plan for snow and ice control, focusing on utilizing all available resources to keep roadways open and assist in the movement of traffic.

In anticipation of more winter weather in the forecast beginning late tonight in the far western Texas panhandle, TxDOT maintenance crews are already hard at work pretreating roadways with brine, which helps minimize ice from adhering to the road. Whether it is a truck spreading brine, a snowplow, or other TxDOT vehicles assisting in these efforts, motorists are reminded to give crews plenty of room to operate, and slow down when approaching them.

“Safety on our roadways is a partnership between TxDOT and motorists, so we ask everyone to drive responsibly, drive to conditions, heed travel warnings, and practice safe driving habits during winter weather events,” says Blair Johnson, director of operations for TxDOT’s Amarillo District. “You’ve heard us say it many times – don’t crowd the plow.”

Response to snow and ice is prioritized, with high-volume roadways like interstates and state highways getting attention first. In more rural areas, crews concentrate on clearing Farm-to-Market roads connecting smaller communities with major highways and allows first responders, as well as utility companies, to react to emergencies. TxDOT’s Amarillo District also communicates constantly with city and county officials during weather events to ensure state roadways in their areas are being managed.

Motorists are also reminded that winter weather can change unexpectedly so delay your travel, if possible. If you must go out, check weather forecasts first and visit DriveTexas.org for the most up-to-date road conditions. Other tips to keep in mind if you must travel in winter weather conditions:

Slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.

The best way to avoid skidding on ice is to slow down – decelerate around turns, avoid slamming on the brakes, or simply stay a few miles an hour under the speed limit – decreasing speed decreases your chances of losing control.

Maintain at least three times the normal following distance in snow or icy conditions.

Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows.

Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.

Learn more about travel planning and other tips with the TxDOT Safety Guide for Winter Travel.

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