The Texas Panhandle is expected to get some winter weather Thursday and Friday.  In preparation for this winter storm the Texas Department of Transportation is being proactive.

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The winter storm is expected to hit the Northwest portion of the Texas Panhandle the hardest.

How is TxDOT helping with the winter storm?

TxDOT is getting ahead of the storm by brining the road ways and overpasses.   TxDOT crews are already preparing the major roads in Hemphill and Hutchinson Counties.

Photo Courtesy: TxDOT
Photo Courtesy: TxDOT

What is brine?

Brine is a salt and water solution that is sprayed on the roadways.  This is to prevent the snow and ice from sticking to the roadways during wintery weather.

Speaking with Sonja Gross, Public Information Officer, TxDOT Amarillo she shared some information about brining.

•             Anti-icing (pre-treatment) is a proactive approach and one of the most cost-effective and environmentally safe practices in winter road maintenance.

•             Anti-icing, when performed correctly, prevents ice and snow from bonding to the pavement, thus achieving one of the most important goals of winter storm management.

•             Operational treatments are continuously evaluated before, during and after a winter storm.

•             Road treatment and applications are modified through all phases of a storm based on careful analysis of intensity, duration and type of precipitation.

•             Brine is applied at rates adjusted for anticipated weather conditions ranging from 30-60 gallons per lane mile at a 23.3 percent solution.

•             Anti-icing using brine helps create a barrier to ice bonding with the roadway.  This uses less salt than applications performed once ice has already formed.

•             Anti-icing mobile units are calibrated annually before the winter begins to ensure the proper amounts are being applied.

•             Operators of the mobile units are appropriately trained in the use of their equipment.

  •  Brine has a freezing temperature of about 25 degrees.
  •  Brine is another tool in the toolbox. TxDOT uses a combination of materials including salt, sand, brine and magnesium chloride.
  •  TxDOT is pretreating with brine which helps minimize ice from adhering to the road.
  •  Brine is another tool TxDOT uses to keep the highways passable (Not a cure all). It depends upon the conditions. Every event is unique.
  •  Our brine use is not to the volume and frequency as states to the north, where the storms are more intense and of a longer duration.
  • Brine is no more corrosive to cars than any other materials that might be used for pre-treatment of roads.  TxDOT’s use of brine is much less than its use in the north and northeast. A carwash that includes undercarriage washing after an event is all that is recommend for its removal.

What do I do if I see the truck brining the roadways?

Slow down and don't crowd them.  As TxDOT says, "don't crowd the plows," when the snow plows are working.  It's the same thing, don't crowd the brining trucks.  They are out and about making sure our roadways are safe.

Photo Courtesy: TxDOT
Photo Courtesy: TxDOT

TxDOT is currently working on the northern part of the Panhandle, but will also take care of the 17 counties in the area.

Most of us don't like driving on snow and ice and TxDOT workers are out and about making sure our roads will be safe and residents of the Texas Panhandle will have safer roadways in the storm.

If and when the winter weather hits, just be safe, and take it slow on the roadways.  If you don't have to get out in the weather, stay home, stay safe, stay warm.

Photo Courtesy: TxDOT
Photo Courtesy: TxDOT

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