Austin Public Works crews clear streets, sidewalks of hazards

Crews with Austin Public Works say they are continuing to ramp up efforts to clear streets and sidewalks of snow, ice and downed tree limbs. While much of Austin’s right-of-way remains in dangerous, icy condition, efforts to clear these are continuing today around the city, and will continue until conditions improve. 

 "As weather conditions improve over the next couple of days, more people will seek to get out of their homes," said Assistant City Manager Gina Fiandaca. "The work that our Public Works Department is completing in partnership with Transportation, Fleet, and our partner agencies, is essential so that road conditions can be safe for our residents, our utility crews and our first responders." 

Earlier this week, Public Works crews quickly dedicated most resources to clearing snow and treating roadways to help support public safety agencies responding to emergency calls. Public Works says crews have been busy clearing snow and ice from area hospitals and warming centers, and assisting with safe transport to and from these locations.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Public Works crews completed its work with staff at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to clear runways and other operational areas.  Public Works says crews have also responded to multiple calls to remove downed trees and limbs blocking the right-of-way. Residents can report any obstructions in roads or sidewalks to Austin 3-1-1.  

Bridges and elevated surfaces freeze quickly and are being treated by crews as needed. So far, Public Works says 26 bridges have been treated multiple times over the past few days.  

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"Given the dangerous road conditions, our priority throughout this event has been to support our emergency services providers so they can safely access people who needed help," said Public Works Director Richard Mendoza. "We are clearing as many priority routes throughout the city, and will be working around the clock to make sure as many streets as possible are addressed."   

Public Works says crews have been working around the clock this week to respond to emergency needs throughout the city. To help with this effort, Public Works quickly secured contractors to address critical safety issues, clearing snow and ice at a number of locations. Public Works crews will work with the Austin Transportation Department to address critical roadways that need to be cleared for travel.



As of Thursday, Public Works says crews have cleared or inspected more than 117 lane miles around town and currently have 1,500+ tons of sanding material on-hand. Clearing efforts will continue today and conclude when conditions improve later this week. Given that many Austin roads are still icy and remain in dangerous condition, Publick Works says residents should remain indoors if able.

Public Works says if you must travel, follow these safety tips:

  • Travel during the day, before sundown; use larger and more-traveled roadways 
  • Avoid overpasses and use extreme caution on elevated roadways and bridges.
  • If you have access to a vehicle with four wheel drive, or a heavier SUV or truck, use that instead of small cars.
  • Traffic signals continue to be impacted by ongoing outages ordered by ERCOT. Treat all flashing or dark signals as four-way-stops no matter which direction or road you're traveling on.
  • Use extreme caution when walking on sidewalks and other paved surfaces.