AUSTIN (KXAN) — Roads have been slick across Central Texas as Texas Department of Transportation crews work to clear off the snow and ice ahead of another round of severe weather storms.
Diann Hodges, a spokesperson for TxDOT, said the pre-treatment chemicals the trucks lay down only works when the roads are dry. Crews have been working 24-hour shifts, scraping off the top layer of snow and using de-icing agents to try to get to that level.
“We are battling mother nature. So we can get it clear, but if we can’t get it dry, then we risk the brief freeze again,” Hodges said.
For this reason, TXDOT officials are asking everyone to stay home. Hodges said she understands people have been without power for days, and that’s a tough request for those seeking food, water and warmth.
“There are people without power in their homes and they haven’t had power for a couple of days and they want to get somewhere to get warm. And we get that, we are trying. But we will not be able to get to all the roads. So if you pull out of your driveway and you are still pretty deep in snow, just be mindful. You may get stuck somewhere,” Hodges said.
Many people that are making their way onto the roads are finding themsleves lodged deep into snowbanks. Several trucks spent hours on FM 1626 on Tuesday, removing fellow vehicles from the enbankments. These good samaritans were an only hope for many as some tow truck drivers have discontinued service until the storms are over to protect drivers.
“I’m just not willing to put my drivers health and safety at risk like that,” said Abraham Vasquez, owner of Texas Towing. “Right now, unfortunately, if you need a tow truck, its going to be difficult to get one fast.”
Vasquez said he slid on the ice Friday night during a service call. Since then, he’s asked all of his drivers to stay home.
Those that are stranded can take advantage of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Heroes Program, which pairs stuck drivers with people who can lend a hand in a number of ways, from tire changes to gas refuels. Just call (512) 732-HERO.
The Texas Department of Transportation is also reminding people they should never get out and walk on the roads, as drivers can easily lose control and hit unsuspecting pedestrians. Also that any traffic signal that is not operational due to power outages should be treated as a four-way stop.