West Texas Roadways Get Prepped for Arctic Temperatures

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

On Tuesday, the Texas Department of Transportation began treating elevated roadways like overpasses and bridges in preparation for these arctic temperatures.

After Monday's 70 degree weather, people here woke up to a surprise.

"When you go out in the morning and there's ice on your window, you may need to think about what that's doing on the roadway," TXDOT Public Information Officer Glen Larum, said.

On Tuesday, TXDOT crews remain on stand-by.

"We've been preparing for weeks," Larum said.

They're using a de-icing chemical called Melt-down that keeps the roads from freezing, then they'll add a combination of sand and gravel that keeps the ice from coming back.

"Not every mile of roadway is going to be treated," Larum said. "That's just not possible."

TXDOT has several priorities: first, they treat bridges and their entrances, they're the first things to freeze, and have the most impact on traffic flow.

"Tonight if this window of bad weather turns into something, they'll be ready for it," Larum said.

The icey temperatures can also wreak havoc on your car, and local mechanics say there's a few things you can do to make sure it runs smoothly this time of year.

"The things they can do on their own is make sure it's full of coolant," Doug Bentley, a Mechanic at Wall St. Automotive in Midland, said. "Make sure their washer jugs are full of fluid that will not freeze. A lot of our washer fluids in this area are not good below freezing level."

Also make sure to check tire pressure and the hoses and belts. They can freeze and rupture, and don't forget about that battery.

"You can start your car up, go to the grocery store, then all of a sudden, it won't start at all," Bentley said. "That's the theory behind a battery, it will leave you stranded."

Auto Shops say, the economy is having a big impact on their winter-time business, accounting for 20% of their customers.

"Right now with the economy, we're not seeing a lot of people come in," Bentley said. "If it still starts, it still runs, they still drive it."

When you head out to work in the morning, TXDOT says to avoid elevated roadways like the Loop and Interstate bridges and overpasses.

They says it's best to use level roads even though it may add a few minutes extra to your commute.