AUSTIN,Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Caravans of TXDOT vehicles rolled across the metro area Monday morning.
A salt water mixture was sprayed out because of the possibility a wintery mix could move in.
The uncertain forecast prompted officials at TXDOT to end 2018 on a preventative note.
"And we want to make sure we get out ahead of this storm, so we are not reacting, instead we are being proactive,” said TX DOT spokesperson Brad Wheelis.
The crews focused on major highways like I-35 and Hwy 183. Frontage road bridges were also treated.
"As long as we don’t get a huge gully washer, a deluge of rain, this forms a coating over the roadway, whenever the rain falls it prevents it from freezing, if we do have freezing rain it breaks that up so we get a kind of slush sort of compound there that’s easier to drive on and is less slick,” said Wheelis.
A large tanker truck was also used in the operation. The big tank made it possible to travel more miles in one haul; maximizing coverage. Overall- crews poured out about 100,000 gallons which coated about 2,000 lane miles.
TX DOT advisory signs warned drivers about the de-icing work - despite that, traffic backed up at times on the interstate. For some the icy forecast is not what scares them.
“Other drivers. I’m cautious when I’m driving but it’s the other people that may not be,” said Roger Skillen.
Carter McBee said he is also mindful of other on the roads when conditions are slick.
“You just got to drive like you have a bunch of stuff stacked up on the back, keep it nice and smooth, control your momentum, accelerating, decelerating, can’t hit your brakes took hard, don't be cranking your wheel,” said McBee.
Stacy Putnam, who moved from Washington State to Central Texas offered similar advice.
"Just slow down, don’t think you can drive in this weather, because it isn't very safe, so just slow down."
A car wash will be needed after getting caught behind one of the trucks. But TX DOT officials say the salty mixture that’s being put down shouldn't cause any permanent damage to your vehicle.
"This is probably not enough to do great damage to your car, but it’s always a good idea that after a snow over ice event that you do wash the undercarriage of your car, that’s always good advice to get that salt away from the vehicle so it’s not eating at your car,” said Wheelis.
Images from a TX DOT manual show how salt and de-icing chemicals can eat away at bridges joints. That’s why after the winter threat has moved away, TX DOT typically moves in with sweeper trucks to clear the roadways.