Winter weather expected this weekend is likely to further
deplete the Texas Department of Transportation's dwindling supply of de-icing
Four winter storms have depleted reserves of salt and
magnesium chloride, leaving the state's 25 transportation districts to shuffle
and share the supplies of fluid and granular mixes it uses to keep moisture
from freezing on highways, said Mike Cox, a spokesman with the Texas Department
Last weekend's storm affected half of the state, a rarity
for the second-largest state in the union, Cox said.
"It's hard to plan for that sort of thing - when we get a
really bad cold snap it usually doesn't last but 24 hours or so," Cox said.
"This one has lasted for several days."
Counties in northern and west Texas are used to winter
weather, but a 14-county district around the state's panhandle spent about
$450,000 for de-icer compound because of two storms this winter, said Paul
Braun, a spokesman for the transportation department's Amarillo district.
Shipments for salt and magnesium chloride have been delayed
because surrounding states Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas have been
hit by storms as well and use the same supplier of materials - Southwest
Envirotech of Richardson, TX, Braun said.
Braun said he's heard truckers say that Texas are among the
nation's best states at clearing roads, though some were stuck near Amarillo
during this week's winter weather.
Transportation workers have repeated a mantra about their
role in keeping traffic on the state's highways flowing, Braun said.
"We will rest when they are open," Braun said.
- By Charlie Morasch,