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TxDOT crews pretreat elevated roadways; Dozens of trucks ready to roll if there are trouble spots

TxDOT crews are spraying a salt/water mix to prevent icing on bridges and overpasses.

HOUSTON — The Texas Department of Transportation sent out crews this afternoon to pretreat elevated structures throughout the Houston area in advance of a possible wintry mix. 

Rain mixed with sleet -- and possibly a few snow flurries -- are possible, according to the KHOU 11 Weather Team. A wintry mix of rain and sleet is possible but whatever falls should be very light and no significant winter precipitation accumulations are expected.

Drivers mainly need to monitor bridges and overpasses.

“When you’re on an elevated structure treat it like it may be iced over, the main thing is slow down," advised Leilany Thielen with HCTRA.

LATEST WEATHER: Houston forecast: Cold, rainy night

Tonight TxDOT and the Harris County Toll Road Authority have more than 30 trucks ready to roll to take care of trouble spots. Workers will be performing temperature checks on bridges through the night.

“We have already pre-staged at some of the key stockpile locations around our system.”

TxDOT crews have already sprayed a salt/water mix on several bridges and overpasses to prevent icing, including these:

  • The Pierce Elevated on I-45 through downtown Houston
  • The 610 East Loop Bridge over the Houston Ship Channel
  • The Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown
  • The connector ramps along the Grand Parkway/Highway 99

“We’re gonna be looking at areas, not just within the core of the city of Houston, but also those bridges, those smaller bridges, and some of our counties to the west... and also our counties to the north," said TxDOT spokesman Danny Perez. "So we’re looking at those structures that even with a short amount of time could freeze over.” 

They'll treat other spots if necessary.

"But we will have crews this evening scouting and seeing if there's any areas that need to address," Perez said. "We'll work through the late night hours into the overnight hours to address those locations

If TxDOT crews do find icy spots later, they'll put a mixture of rocks on it, but they're advising people to stay off the roadways if possible. 

People like Alec Maggio, who starts work at 5 a.m., say they don't have a choice.

“I’m gonna probably have to go slow if the overpass freezes, but I don’t know what else I can do because I work out here and I live in Houston, so there’s no way to avoid the overpasses," Maggio said. 

If you do have to get out, TxDOT says slow down and try to exit before the overpass or bridge and stay on the feeders whenever possible.

All HCTRA road closures will be posted on the Houston TranStar’s Real-Time Traffic map at www.houstontranstar.org.

Houston Transtar Road Closures

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What does wintry mix mean?

Wintry mix is a combination of several kinds of winter precipitation. There are several factors that lead to it.

What is black ice?

Black ice is one of the most dangerous conditions for drivers when the weather gets cold. The reason is quite simple -- it’s really hard to see.

Black ice is almost perfectly clear with no trapped air pockets. It is only black because of the paved road underneath.

RELATED: What is black ice and what should you do if you start to lose control?

So what do you do if you hit a black ice? It may be counter-intuitive for drivers. If you feel your wheels slipping take your foot off the gas, resist the urge to slam down your brake pedal and coast until you get traction again. If you start to skid, steer into the skid instead of away from it.

More on black ice here.