TxDOT to monitor Central Texas roadways overnight

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — TxDOT says the good news is most of the roads are improving, but they’ll keep a few crews working overnight to spot treat any remaining ice.

“We just want to make sure the areas that have gotten some moisture are safer for people to drive on,” Diann Hodges, a spokesperson for TxDOT, said.

Hodges said crews put out about 80,000 gallons of pre-treatment and as soon as the storm hit late Monday night, they started working overtime to treat roadways. By Tuesday morning, some areas had been treated an additional three times. Trucks were rotating in and out to reload with magnesium chloride as they were treating the roads again.

“It’s a constant,” Hodges said. “We stay on top of it. We pay attention to the weather and our guys drive those roadways and they look for any potential icing situations.”

A key reminder from TxDOT for drivers — heed proper warnings about being on the roads.

“Your safety and the safety of our crews really depend on you obeying the law, slowing down and keeping a safe distance between you and other people,” Hodges said.

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level to Level Three Increased Readiness Monday evening and reminded Texans during a press conference Tuesday local communities have access to state resources as needed.

Leslie Sopko, a spokesperson for ERCOT, said they expect power demand to increase with the winter weather. ERCOT operates the electric grid for a majority of Texas. Electricity demand reached more than 62,000 MW earlier this month. ERCOT said as of right now, it looks like that number could jump to more than 65,000.

During the severe ice storm in 2011, ERCOT had rotating outages due to cold temperatures and generating units tripping offline. However, Sopko said they’ve updated the preparation checklist for winter weatherization.

“We have better wind forecasting now,” Sopko said. “We have better communication with the companies that provide fuel to the power plants and so there’s a lot of communication in advance of and during these types of winter events.”

ERCOT says it has sufficient generation for what Texans need this week.

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