TxDOT, NMDOT, EPDOT prepare for winter weather

POSTED: 06:57 PM MST Jan 02, 2013    UPDATED: 08:26 PM MST Jan 14, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

The Texas Department of Transportation was busy Wednesday preparing for a winter storm set to hit Southern New Mexico and West Texas Thursday.

TxDOT crews worked much of the day on filling trucks with de-icing materials.

The department uses two different types of anti-ice agents, one granular and one liquid.

The granular mixture is composed of salt, sand, and small rocks. The de-icing component is shipped to El Paso from Colorado, and the mixture is developed in El Paso.

According to TxDOT El Paso Maintainence Supervisor Hector Granados, crews filled five trucks with the solid agent, and another two trucks with the liquid solution.

"Tomorrow morning I'm going to have maybe half the crew out patrolling and taking care of the bridges," Granados said.  "That's our main concern, and I-10. Usually we take care of the right lanes, close to the exits, and that's our priority-- making sure that at least one lane is clear."

TxDOT will monitor Interstate 10, US 54, Loop 375, Spur 601, and Transmountain.

It isn't uncommon for portions of the freeway to be shut down during strong winter weather.

The last time El Paso saw snow was nearly a year ago, January 9, 2012.

For Granados, the big freeze of 2011 comes to mind when thinking winter weather. He says that system kept crews busy for quite a while.

It is best to avoid driving during snowfall events that bring icy road conditions, but at times it is unavoidable.

"Take your time, get up earlier, but please be patient," Granados said. "If you see those trucks out there, please get behind them and don't try passing them. Don't try to hurry up.  Just take your time."

Here are a few other tips from TxDOT:

-Remove snow and ice from vehicles before driving them.
-Keep fuel tanks full to avoid freezing fuel lines.
-Accelerate and drive more slowly than normal.
-Always check headlights and tail lights before driving.

According to the El Paso city officials with EPDOT, the city roads will also be cleared when necessary. EPDOT has already prepared de-icing mixtures, and snowplows.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation said they are also prepared, and will be working with emergency responders when necessary.