Austin Public Works crews clear streets, sidewalks of hazards

The Austin Public Works crews clear roads and sidewalks of dangers

While much of Austin’s right-of-way remains in a dangerous, icy state, efforts to clear it up will continue in the city today and will continue until conditions improve.

Austin Public Works crews say they are continuing to step up efforts to clean up snow, ice and fallen tree branches on roads and sidewalks. While much of Austin’s right-of-way remains in a dangerous, icy state, efforts to clear it up will continue in the city today and will continue until conditions improve.

“As weather conditions improve over the next few days, more people will try to get out of their homes,” said deputy city manager Gina Fiandaca. “The work our public works department does in collaboration with Transportation, Fleet and our partner agencies is essential to keeping road conditions safe for our residents, our supply teams and our first responders.”

Earlier this week, the Public Works crews quickly devoted most of their resources to snow removal and road treatment to help public safety authorities respond to emergency calls. According to Public Works, the crews were busy clearing snow and ice from hospitals and heating centers in the area and helping with safe transportation to and from these locations.

The crews plant and plow snow-covered roads

Street crews faced an icy dilemma. The snowfall made it difficult to drive on many freeways, but removing it didn’t exactly remove the risk. Rudy Koski from FOX 7 Austin explains.

On Wednesday February 17, the public works crews completed their work with staff at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to clear runways and other operational areas. According to Public Works, crews have also responded to multiple calls to remove fallen trees and branches blocking the right of way. Residents can report any obstacles on roads or sidewalks to Austin 3-1-1.

Bridges and raised surfaces freeze quickly and are treated by the crews if necessary. According to Public Works, 26 bridges have been treated multiple times in the past few days.

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“Given the dangerous road conditions, our priority during this event was to support our emergency services so that they can safely access people in need,” said Richard Mendoza, Director of Public Works. “We’re clearing so many priority routes across the city and we’re going to work around the clock to ensure that as many streets as possible are addressed.”

According to Public Works, crews have been working around the clock this week to respond to emergencies across the city. To aid in these efforts, Public Works quickly secured contractors to resolve critical safety issues and clear snow and ice in multiple locations. The public works crews will work with Austin’s transportation division to clear critical roads that need to be cleared for the journey.

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According to Public Works, crews evacuated or inspected more than 117 miles around town on Thursday and currently have over 1,500 tons of abrasive material. The clearing effort continues today and will complete if conditions improve later this week. Given that many roads in Austin are still icy and in a dangerous condition, residents should stay indoors whenever possible, according to Publick Works.

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

  • Travel before sunset during the day. Use bigger and busy roads
  • Avoid overpasses and be extremely careful on elevated roads and bridges.
  • If you have access to a four-wheel drive vehicle or a heavier SUV or truck, use that instead of small cars.
  • Traffic signals are still affected by persistent outages ordered by ERCOT. Treat all blinking or dark signals as four-way stops, regardless of the direction or street you’re traveling in.
  • Use extreme caution when walking on sidewalks and other paved surfaces.

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