TxDot focusing on overpasses, bridges - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TxDot focusing on overpasses, bridges

By Jamey Boyum - email

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - East Texas got another dose of winter weather, but we lucked out as far as the precipitation. The Texas Department of Transportation sand trucks were ready to help keep traffic moving, and in northwestern Smith County there were some icy spots, mostly on bridges.

The sleet hit East Texas mid-morning, and sand truck crews were loaded and ready to roll, like Mark Fletcher who has driven a sand truck for seven years.

"Most of them are headed to the Interstate. One truck will go south to loop 49, the State Hwy 155 bridges and the Bullard overpass," stated Larry Krantz of Tex-Dot.

Mark travels with Stu Boyd, his spotter. Stu's job is to watch for and slow down traffic while the sand truck is doing its job. Stu also keeps stray aggregate number 5 from chipping people's windshields and paint.

"We're looking for the ice on top of the bridges and overpasses," Krantz pointed out, "We're very careful out here. We're very respectful of the conditions, and if it really becomes too much of an issue we've been known to turn around and drive backwards while we're spreading because it allows us to drive over the material we're spreading."

Conditions were that bad last week in places like I-20 and Highway 271. Mark worked outside of his regular 22 bridge route to keep things moving along.

This week everyone expected the worst, but this afternoon roads were pretty clear. East Texas, for the most part dodged a bullet. I-20 had a little ice near Canton, but in Smith and Gregg Counties, it's pretty clear.

Sand crews are still ready if anything changes.

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