AUSTIN (Nexstar) — State leaders are urging Texans to stay off the roads after days of wintry weather, including ice, snow and bitter cold temperatures.
On Monday, the Texas Department of Transportation explained an expected storm overnight Tuesday could prolong the treacherous road conditions even longer.
Michael Lee, TxDOT’s transportation safety director, said crews have been working since Monday morning to try to clear as much snow and ice as possible before that second storm rolls in with more precipitation. That’s after days of pretreating ahead of the storm.
“Right now we have a window, it started this morning, some 24 hours depending on where you are in the state, 24 to 36 hours or so to get as much done as we can. And that’s what we’ve been working on it and working to get everything just pushed out of the way keeping the major roadways open,” Lee explained.
After that storm, it could be days before roads are fully melted and clear across the state. Lee said warming temperatures beginning Thursday will begin to help.
“Our primary focus will be on the all the major interstates and the major corridors and we’ll go down to the local corridors and then then the rural roadways so you know, I would expect that we can have the major roadways open by Monday of the next week,” Lee said.
Right now, he said the safest option for Texans is to stay home, and stay off the roads. This includes those who are considering relocating due to power outages.
“I would tell you that your opportunity to stay warm in your house, even without power is greater than your opportunity to stay warm if you’re stranded on the side of the roadway,” Lee said, acknowledging how difficult of a decision that will be for families.
He said if you do have to drive, make a plan in case your car gets stuck.
“Plan for the unexpected be prepared for with snow, with a blanket, be prepared with some snacks and some water in case you do get stranded,” Lee said. He also added to make sure to check with your local law enforcement agency for safe routes, along with TxDOT’s website for any closures and conditions.
“Just do your best to stay off the roads. And just wait it out. You will be safer where you are,” Lee said.