Winter Storm Prompts Response From TXDOT Emergency Operations Center

Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:31pm

Thursday's snow fall wreaked havoc on El Paso's roads. 

Work crews with the Texas Department of Transportation hit the streets before the snow started falling Thursday morning, and are expected to work throughout the night to sand and salt roads.

Overnight moisture and freezing temperatures could lead to ice on the roads, making for dangerous driving conditions.

The TXDOT Emergency Operations Center becomes the main headquarters for road closure decisions during weather events, like Thursday's snow storm.

Electronic boards allow them to monitor traffic throughout the city, and provide information to the public, as well as police and emergency dispatchers.

Call-takers in the TXDOT Operations Center provide updated road conditions and road closure information.

"We work with the National Weather Service, in regards to them providing information as far as an upcoming storm, we start coordinating with law enforcement," said TXDOT Traffic Engineer Edgar Fino.

According to Detective Mike Baranyay with the El Paso Police Department, that open communication is especially important when storms hit.

"If roadways do get iced over, we may call upon them to assist in de-icing roadways, getting sand or salt on the roadways so we can re-open those roadways safely, and as quickly as possible," said Baranyay.

Fino said TXDOT crews will treat bridges and overpasses first because they tend to ice over more quickly than other roads.

"So when that does occur, we ask the traveling public to avoid that area and take a detour around, go somewhere else and not to try to take those direct connectors if you see vehicles slipping and sliding," said Fino. 

Fino also said drivers should stay in the right lane because it is the lane crews usually sand or salt.

TXDOT work crews will be sanding and salting roads throughout the night, into Friday morning.

Call-takers will also be available to provide information about road closures.  They can be reached at 915-790-4333.



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