AUSTIN (KXAN) — A large part of Central Texas experienced its freeze of fall Thursday morning.
This could mean much more cold weather this winter—something that Austinites will try to properly prepare for following two major winter storms in recent years.
This week, the City of Austin’s Street and Bridge Operations division held a field training on a variety of topics to prepare for winter weather response.
Crews participated in several drills that included debris removal, brine application and chain installations on cars.
Reiner Hershaw is the assistant director for the city’s street and bridge operations division.
“Our goal is to get our staff comfortable and confident in their skills,” he said. “To be able to deliver services when Austin depends on them.”
The city’s focus is to keep the right of way clear and passable during an emergency to maintain core services.
Michael Girod is a division manager for the city’s street and bridge operations division.
“These winter weather events are becoming more frequent,” he said. “We’re having to retrain our crews in winter weather response because we don’t have the same opportunity to train as they do in colder cities up north.”
In October, the city released an after-action report on the 2023 winter storm.
One of the biggest takeaways was improving preparedness for future emergencies.
“The main thing we’ve taken away is the importance and criticality of proper preparation along with the confidence and skills to be able to deliver the things that we need,” Hershaw concluded.
Following this week’s training, the street and bridge operations team will put their practice to the test with an exercise to ensure they’re ready to respond this winter.