• March 6, 2021
 City’s Street Crews, TxDOT prepare for inclement weather; Warming centers to open

TxDOT crews in El Paso prepare brine solution for application on area roads | Clip courtesy TxDOT

City’s Street Crews, TxDOT prepare for inclement weather; Warming centers to open

The Streets and Maintenance Department for the City of El Paso, as well as TxDOT officials, announced Friday that crews will work through the weekend taking precautions and making preparations for potential snow and ice conditions expected to sweep into the region.

“We are closely monitoring the weather conditions and adjusting our storm response plans to it. Streets crews have all the proper equipment and materials ready to deploy, such as sand or salt,” said Richard Bristol, Streets and Maintenance Department Director.

“We work closely with the Fire and Police departments, and other agencies including TxDOT, El Paso Water, school districts and Fort Bliss in situations like this. Should the conditions require it, we are ready to deploy ice safety measures on bridge overpasses, routes from fire stations to highways or major arterials, routes from arterials and highways to hospitals, and other locations directed by fire and police.  Like all weather events we all want to get through it as safely as possible and with minimal infrastructure damage.”

Over at TxDOT, officials urged drivers to take extra precautions this weekend if they need to travel, as a strong winter storm may impact roadways across the state.

Maintenance crews across the District’s six counties started pretreating roadways early Thursday morning with brine, a calculated salt/water solution sprayed ahead of a storm’s expected arrival. The solution leaves behind the familiar white lines many drivers are used to seeing. The treatment can last up to seven days, but is activated by moisture.

“The District utilizes a tiered approach to the treatment of our roadways and allocation of resources,” said TxDOT El Paso District Engineer Tomas Trevino. “High traveled roadways like I-10 and Loop 375 are included in Tier 1 along with emergency routes to hospitals.”

Crews will monitor conditions over the weekend and into next week and are ready to treat roads as needed with additional brine, sand/salt and snow plows. The District will activate their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and shift into a 24/7 mode Saturday night into Sunday morning. TransVista and HERO crews will be providing additional support.

In the city, a total of 25 vehicles equipped with salt or sand spreaders are ready to comb El Paso streets. Crews have access to more than 100 tons of sand and salt. Treatments to streets will follow the department’s snow and ice control plan and will concentrate on overpasses and streets that lead to hospitals, international bridges, fire houses and police stations.

Officials added that Winter weather creates unpredictable and dangerous driving conditions. TxDOT strongly advises drivers to stay off the roads. But if someone must drive, they should use extreme caution. Freezing temperatures are expected to linger until Tuesday.

Within the city, several warming centers will be open for the duration of the cold snap.

The warming centers are a collaboration between the El Paso Office of Emergency Management, Parks and Recreation Department and the Extreme Weather Task Force.  COVID-19 health and safety guidelines will be observed at all times. Due to the ongoing pandemic, no activities are currently scheduled at the warming centers.

Warming Center Locations  |  Open from 8AM to 8PM from February 14 to February 15:

·       Galatzan Recreation Center

        650 Wallenberg Dr.

·       Clardy Fox Library

        5515 Robert Alva Ave.

·       Marty Robbins Rec Center

        11600 Vista Del Sol Dr.

·       Memorial Senior Center

        1800 Byron St.

·       Wellington Chew Senior Center

        4430 Maxwell Ave.

·       Pavo Real Senior Center

        9301 Alameda Ave.

·       San Juan Senior Center

        5701 Tamburo Ct.

Those seeking access to warming centers and/or experiencing insufficient heat are encouraged to visit a warming center and/or contact 3-1-1 for more information.  For more information about extreme cold safety, please visit ElPasoReady.org.

Information on road conditions in the state is available at DriveTexas™ or by phone at (800) 452-9292. Drivers can also monitor conditions by visiting www.txdot.gov and searching “El Paso Cameras”

Driving Tips

  • Slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
  • Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.
  • Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
  • If your vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you have regained traction; then straighten your vehicle.

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