Crews In Tyler Prepare For Ice Storm - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Crews In Tyler Prepare For Ice Storm

Officials are warning everyone to be careful on the roads tonight and tomorrow. Ice is expected to build up on bridges, overpasses and streets, making roads slippery. Across East Texas, crews are working around the clock, getting equipment and personnel ready to handle any emergencies.

Officials with the Tyler Police Department, the Streets Operation Department and the Department of Public Safety are out monitoring roads to see whether ice is built up. The City of Tyler and TX DOT say they have a fleet of sand trucks ready to ship out to places that need it.

TX DOT has 50 sand trucks loaded with "grade 5 aggregate", a material placed on the road to give drivers some additional traction in this kind of weather.  "Basically it's just designed to give you friction with the road, it does not have any ice melting capabilities," said TX DOT spokesman Larry Kranz.

TX DOT says it started getting ready on Friday, so all they have to do now is wait and see what the weather will actually do. Krantz says there are 200 crews on call throughout 8 counties. Their main priority will be keeping Interstate 20 clear of ice.  "If we're gonna have freezing conditions on the surface, we'll see them first on the interstate, so most of our focus right now is on the interstate," said Kranz.

The Tyler Police Department says they'll have crews on patrol looking for water deposits and icy roads.  "The Beckham St. overpass, the 5th St. overpass and Highway 69 north at Blackfork Creek," said Tyler Police Department Lt. Robert Barrentine.

Over at the Tyler Police Department's dispatch center, things were quiet this afternoon. No extra officers are on duty tonight, but Lt. Barrentine says there are 15 on standby and many more could be called in if needed.  "I don't believe that the weather is going to be as bad as what was predicted, but we'll be ready if it is," he said.  

Lt. Barrentine says officers will be looking for speeders and those not following traffic laws.  "It's very important when streets are wet like they are right now, and if they do become iced over, people need to slow down and use caution and just leave little bit earlier, take their time going whoever they're going and be careful," he said.

Lt. Barrentine says in this type of weather, it's important that people drive under the speed limit and use extra caution. He says if you crash, you could be cited with "failing to control speed", which carries a $200 fine.

Larry Kranz wants to remind the public to keep their distance from these sand trucks. This is to give the operators enough room to spread their material evenly. And of course, for your safety and theirs.

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.


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