TxDOT, NTTA Prepare to Treat Roads During Storm

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    Road crews, including those under the umbrella of the Texas Department of Transportation and the North Texas Tollway Authority, will rely on many tools to keep roads safe for drivers amid the icy winter weather. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013)

    As the Dallas-Fort Worth area prepares for a potentially severe winter storm Thursday night, the Texas Department of Transportation has begun pre-treating some roads in Denton County.

    According to TxDOT, road crews began treating Interstate 35, Interstate 35W, Loop 288, State Highway 114 and U.S. Highway 380 at round 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Road crews, including those under the umbrella of the TxDOT and the North Texas Tollway Authority, will rely on many tools to get the job done.

    "That depends on the weather and it depends on the situation with the roads," said TxDOT spokesperson Natalie Galindo, in response to which materials work best to make the highways passable.

    Both TxDOT and NTTA will make use of a liquid spray, composed primarily of magnesium chloride, to both prevent ice from forming on the roads. The spray will help thaw any ice that forms, according to representatives from both agencies.

    Prior to any precipitation, NTTA will scatter asalt, which is a salt substance, onto toll roads. The substance will get placed primarily on the bridges and overpasses, according to NTTA spokesperson Michael Rey.

    Once the temperature drops below freezing, NTTA will switch over to magnesium chloride, Rey said.

    TxDOT uses several materials on the highways during winter storms that include salt.

    The agency said they try to avoid anything with a high salt concentration because it has a corrosive effect on roads and bridges spanning the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Galindo said.

    A stone and sand mixture will be used by both agencies, as well as by road crews in several North Texas cities, to help the tires on vehicles maintain traction on the ice.

    As for which sections of road to target, both TxDOT and NTTA will rely upon sensors and thermometers that can give real-time status of what areas might freeze quicker than others.

    And the decision of how to best treat the areas with ice forming on them will likely be made by the supervisors of the road crews, depending on the temperatures and what kind of precipitation is falling.

    "And they just communicate with each other to let us know where the bad places are, and we treat those areas that need to be treated," Galindo said.

    NBC 5's Kendra Lyn contributed to this report.