Austin wants to install more flashing lights at low water crossings

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — As water rushed over Spicewood Springs Road and Yaupon Drive in northwest Austin this morning, the low water crossing arm malfunctioned.

The city says they tried to lower the arm through a remote control system from their office, but it didn’t work right away. Since the technology isn’t always reliable, the city says it is working to install more flashing lights at the crossings as an initial warning to drivers, in case the arms malfunction.

“Whether it’s a radio communication issue, whether it’s a hardware issue within the computer box itself, a mechanical issue, it could be a variety of things,” explains Kevin Shunk with the Watershed Protection Department. “And we do a really good job of keeping up with this equipment and testing it at various times, but there are times when things don’t work just the way we want them to.”

Out of about 400 low-water crossings, the city has 17 low-water crossing locations with flashing lights and three locations with just automatic gate arms. The city hopes to replace the remaining arms with flashing lights. Ideally, the city prefers to have crews manually close off the low-water crossings.

For a full list of low water crossings that are currently closed, click here.

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