The ice storm that rolled through East Texas is long behind us, but the work for road crews is not over yet. Last night, we showed you TxDOT crews laying down sand and gravel on the roads to keep cars from skidding on ice. Now that the roads are dry, there's another mess to clean up.
When the sand trucks get word that their work is done, they head back to the TxDOT maintenance yard. As for the rocks, it's back into the pile with them.
"Whatever we didn't use needs to go back so we can have it handy for next time," explains TxDOT Spokesperson Larry Krantz.
That's just step one. Next, the trucks head into the garage for a thorough cleaning.
"They'll wash it out really good," says Krantz.
Crews have to make sure the corrosive magnesium chloride meltdown mixture that coats the ice rock is long gone.
"We want to get it washed out so it doesn't damage our equipment long term," adds Krantz.
After cleaning, it's time to grease the gears. A conveyor belt that helps get the rock to the road is one of the most important pieces of the sand-truck puzzle.
"If that were to freeze up on you, you wouldn't be able to use it," he says.
Then, the box that holds the rock is put back in the hanger --where it stays all summer-- until it's needed again.
"Lastly, we have to put the tailgate back on the dump truck," says Krantz. "What's really been interesting to me in the time that I've worked here is how versatile a dump truck can be. We use dump trucks for a lot. It is by far the most cost-effective piece of equipment we have," he explains.
The iconic piece of equipment that's used to battle winter weather on the roads is just the same old handy, yet reliable, dump truck that's used to haul material throughout the year.
Cleaning up just one of the trucks that is used to sand the roads takes about four people and one hour. Over the next couple of days, road crews will start sweeping up the ice rock that was dispersed on the roads. That rock, too, goes right back into the pile to be used next time.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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