Lubbock, South Plains crews prepare roads for winter storm
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Ahead of a storm that could produce several inches of snow on the South Plains, Lubbock emergency management officials and road crews are preparing for those conditions.
“As typical with any moisture, whenever you start to get below freezing, our overpasses become slick because ice starts to form so typically our roadways are what we focus on with this,” City of Lubbock Director of Emergency Management Joe Moudy said. “The temperatures are not getting down like we saw with Winter Storm URI, where it was an extended freeze, but we do want to make sure that travel is safe for citizens and that people can get where they need to.”
Moudy told KCBD the Emergency Operations Center will activate early Tuesday morning but Street Department and Public Works crews have already been evaluating Lubbock roadways for pretreatment purposes.
“Then they will have crews ready to go in the event that roads start to deteriorate, that we can get treatment on them,” Moudy said. “They’re going to focus on those city overpasses and on those city streets, while TxDOT handles the state-maintained highways.”
In a joint effort with TxDOT, the City of Lubbock crews have also prepositioned barricades at some entrances of Loop 289.
“In the event that we do have a lot of vehicle wrecks on those overpasses, we like to pull as much traffic off the overpasses as soon as possible so that our first responders are safe,” Moudy said. “If you do see barricades go up on on-ramps, please don’t drive around them and don’t drive through them. They’re put up to ensure that our first responders are safe while they’re working an accident and as soon as we can reopen that road, those will be removed.”
According to TxDOT, crews were also pre-treating roadways Monday with brine water on major corridors like I-27, Marsha Sharp Freeway, Loop 289, portions of US 62 and US 87, and US 84 in Lubbock and Garza counties as well as other bridges and overpasses. While that helps prevent ice from forming on the roadway and helps melt ice and snow, TxDOT advises it does not completely stop moisture from freezing and wants drivers to do their part by practicing safe driving habits.
“Take your time and slow down,” Moudy said. “Don’t be tailgating the car in front of you. Make sure you’ve left yourself enough room. Turn off your cruise control. Don’t be driving with cruise control on because makes it very difficult to stop. Then, easy braking, whenever you slam on the brakes, or you slam on the gas, that’s when you start to lose traction. Take extra time, take it slow, and be mindful of those around you because if you get into a wreck, that does put officers at risk and our firefighters at risk to help you when conditions are bad.”
According to the City of Lubbock Snow and Ice Removal Policy, plowing is not typically done unless snow accumulations reach four inches. Moudy said that’s when crews evaluate which roads need snow removal, which begins with major thoroughfares.
“Prior to that four inches, it makes it very difficult to plow the snow because it can not only damage the equipment but damage the roadways underneath as well,” Moudy said.
The City of Lubbock plans to provide mapping for any road closures that may arise Tuesday. Click here for those resources, including instructions on how to sign up for LBK Alerts.
TxDOT also provides a map for road conditions. Click here for DriveTexas.org.
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