TxDOT preparing fleet of vehicles for harsh Winter weather

TxDOT preparing fleet of vehicles for harsh Winter weather
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - As the weather gets colder, maintenance and emergency crews are preparing themselves for the harsh conditions.

TxDOT recently showcased how they're preparing their fleet of vehicles for the Winter season.

At their facility off of Washington, there is an arsenal of trucks and machinery ready to help keep roadways safe.

The National Weather Service here in Amarillo is predicting a mild winter compared to normal due to a La Nina, but that prediction is not to be taken lightly.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Michael Gittinger said the atmosphere is finicky and can change.

"It only takes a couple of weeks of the pattern changing, but generally below normal snowfall and generally warm [is expected]," said Gittinger. "But we'll probably have a couple of events in there."

TxDOT is taking no chances and is preparing for a harsh winter season.

Al York, crew chief at E-Way maintenance, said as colder temperatures creep in, crews are on standby and ready to go.

"We have people patrolling all night long out there," said York. "If it's getting bad enough, it may be one person out there or it may be a whole crew out there in our trucks already loaded and ready to go... if any moisture starts falling we start treating."

York said his crew is responsible for maintaining a vast section of I-40, certain stretches of I-27, and parts of the loop and Amarillo Boulevard.

His lineup of trucks include motor graders with a wing plow, snow plows, snow blowers and brine rigs.

No matter the condition, York said they're ready to make the roads safe.

"There's multiple vehicles that we use, that we actually get brine that we make here on the yard," said York. "When we do this, we pre-treat our roads and overpasses. That way, in case the ice does come in, we already have the material on the road, so maybe it won't freeze near as bad."

York said with how big some of the TxDOT trucks are, it may be hard for some crews members to see other drivers, especially in harsh conditions.

That is why he strongly believes drivers need to always give TxDOT workers plenty of room on the road.

"Give us room to work. As the winter months comes on, you'll see don't crowd the plow. That's a very important thing with us," said York.

Workers will need the extra space because they have a job to do to help keep everyone safe.

"When we come up to an overpass, we have to sand it to let traffic go," said York. "Because not only do you travel [on] it, but our families travel [on] it. We have to make sure the road is safe for everybody."

Gittinger said residents also need to be prepared in case they end up getting stuck in a snow incident.

He encourages drivers to always have emergency supplies in their car that are ready to go.

"People should have some kind of emergency kit in their car. Blankets, some water, maybe some snacks... flashlights, those types of things," said Gittinger.

TxDOT said anytime there is even a hint of moisture in the air, crews will be out on the roads.

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