With the spate of ice and snow storms hitting the North Texas area in recent years, Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads decided to talk with neighboring counties about how they handle wintry weather.
From those talks and meetings between Texas Department of Transportation officials as well as staff at AGL- the company overseeing the widening of Interstate 35E, county officials say they now have a strategic plan in place.
“We’ve been meeting since the snow incident last year,” Eads said. “We studied west and northern counties for best practices because they have been dealing with it longer.”
One result of the meetings is a plan to begin sanding roads earlier in the process during a winter storm rather than waiting until after ice had formed on major thoroughfares.
In addition, the county has more sand and salt trucks ready to cover major areas and are working with TxDOT to make sure all efforts are coordinated, he said.
TxDOT oversees state and interstate roads while counties oversee farm-to-market and other roads in the unincorporated areas.
Eads said the new plan includes more specific timing for when to apply road treatments and which areas to target first, based on traffic patterns.
In Flower Mound, Emergency Management Specialist Brandon Barth indicated the town will continue to monitor weather conditions while the staff remains on call in case roads need to be pre-treated.
National Weather Service officials are indicating light rain is expected to hit Denton County by nightfall. With falling temperatures, slick conditions could develop on bridges and overpasses as well as roads by Thursday morning.
Accumulation could be anywhere from a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch, according to the winter weather advisory issued by NWS officials earlier Wednesday.
In addition, both Denton County Sheriff’s deputies and DPS troopers as well as local law enforcement will be on the roads to monitor traffic for drunk drivers on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
“The New Year’s Eve holiday has historically been a dangerous time on our roadways,” said TxDOT Executive Director Lt. Gen. Joe Weber, USMC (Ret), in a news release. “Texans should plan ahead for a sober ride or risk suffering the consequences. Drunk driving will not be tolerated in Texas.”
TxDOT’s annual Holiday Impaired Driving Campaign runs through New Year’s Day to promote planning for a sober ride. Anyone arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated can face up to $17,000 in court costs and legal fees as well as face imprisonment. The legal limit in Texas for intoxication is .08 blood or breath alcohol concentration, according to a news release.
From 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 to midnight on Jan. 1 last year, an estimated 218 alcohol-related crashes resulted in 10 fatalities and 76 injuries across Texas. The alcohol-related fatalities marked a 25 percent increase from the year before during the same time period.