Section 2: Snow and Ice Operations

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Snow and Ice Control

The diverse areas in Texas require different levels of cold weather preparedness. Resources should be planned on the basis of anticipated need. Removal of snow and ice from the roadway and related control measures are classified as emergency operations that take priority over all non-safety related work. Weather history should serve as a guideline for determining needed resources. Resources should be used appropriately for plowing, sanding or chemical treatments as soon as possible. This may involve working extra hours, nights, weekends or holidays until conditions are stabilized.

More detailed guidance may be found in the Snow and Ice Control Operations manual that comprises the fourth portion of the Maintenance Management Manual.

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Priority of Work

The priorities for snow and ice operations are as follows:

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  1. Known trouble spots, such as bridge decks, steep grades, sharp curves, intersections and approaches to railroad crossings
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  3. Heavier traveled sections of streets and highways
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  5. Lighter traveled sections of streets and highways.
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District Plan

Each district should have a plan for snow and ice control. The varying winter storm conditions require different snow and ice control plans for different areas of the state. Plans should be made for winter work so that equipment, operators, materials and supplies will be ready for the first storm.

Examples of district plans can be found in the Snow and Ice Control Operations manual.

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Snow and Ice Control Methods

Snow and ice control can include one or both of the following methods:

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  • spreading sand and/or aggregate on the ice or snow to increase traction
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  • the application of salt, magnesium chloride or other approved materials to the pavement or bridge surface.

Aggregate used for sanding should generally be grade 5, concrete sand or a similar material.

These methods are discussed in more detail in the Snow & Ice Control Operations Manual.

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Road Closures

When it becomes apparent that a road section will need to be closed because of snow or ice, the Department of Public Safety or local law enforcement jurisdiction should be asked to officially close the road. Notice should be given to all news media and appropriate officials. For all highways crossing district(s) or state line(s), the closure should be coordinated with the appropriate counterparts. Where practical, signs should be erected to advise traffic. After road closure signs are erected, a trip should be made through the closed area to ascertain that no one is stranded in the closed section.

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Highway Condition Report (HCR)

As required by the Maintenance Management Manual, Chapter 5, Section 8 (HCR), all road closures and weather related conditions should be reported in the HCR.

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Railroad Grade Crossing

When plowing the highway, piles of snow should not be left at railroad grade crossings. After plowing, the rail should be cleaned of the snow pack, ice, gravel or dirt.

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