Following up on an earlier post, more on the mess on the toll roads this morning. Apparently the roads were treated before midnight. Between then and the start of the morning rush hour the rain washed the sand and magnesium chloride away, Mother Nature challenged TxDOT crews.
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Marcus Cooper says the early morning freeze “was the perfect storm of circumstances that created alot of havoc on the roadways.”
Late Tuesday night TXDOT treated SH 45 and SH 130 with liquid magnesium chloride, but early morning rain washed it away.
TXDOT rushed to de-ice the roadway again, but by then it was too late. It was time for morning rush hour to start, and commuters were already slipping and sliding onto the road.
TXDOT says the situaion caught them by surprise, and it’s working to determine how to outsmart Mother Nature the next time there’s rain and a quick freeze.
That caused the roads to become a “crash magnet”. More From KVUE, Drivers slip and slide on North Austin elevated roadways.
Elevated roadways in North Austin had problems with ice Wednesday morning.
The roads were in good condition by late Wednesday morning, but for much of the day, State Highway 45 was like a crash magnet, with the icy road contributing to dozens of wrecks.
The decision to close the road is not up by TxDOT.
Cooper said crews were back out trying to lay another layer of sand around 6 a.m. by the time the rain stopped, but traffic had already started to build up. As far as making a decision to shut down the toll road, Cooper said TxDOT leaves that decision to DPS or the local sheriff’s office.
Let’s hope this is a learning experience for all involved and it will be handled correctly next time.
[UPDATE]: From the AAS story we get buckpassing on 183-A between the CTRMA, TxDOT and the un-named company that did the de-icing.
About 15 crashes occurred on the 183-A toll road, most during the 8 a.m. hour, officials said. The road had been pretreated with sand and magnesium chloride Tuesday night, but rain washed that away, said Steve Pustelnyk, a spokesman for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
The toll road operator received its first report of an ice-related collision on the road at 6 a.m. A request was made for the roads to be immediately treated by a private agency that contracts with the mobility authority through the Texas Department of Transportation, but the trucks did not arrive until at least 8:30 a.m., Pustelnyk said.
“We are looking into this to see how we can do this differently next time,” Pustelnyk said. “We are not happy with the speed of response this time. … Obviously, we will be reviewing the contracts to see why the conditions of the contract could not be met.”
Pustelnyk said he did not know the name of the company because it is hired by the Transportation Department. But TxDot spokesman John Hurt said he did not know the name of the company because the toll road is under the purview of the mobility authority.
Adding another layer to the bureaucracy, the CTRMA, probably only made things worse.