Transguide Operations Center keeps close eye on traffic conditions

TxDOT helps police decide whether to close roads

SAN ANTONIO – A crew of operators and engineers at the Transguide Operations Center were hard at work overnight and Tuesday monitoring the weather for freezing rain that could cause a problem on highways in San Antonio.

Seven Transguide operators watched for accidents on 19 traffic cameras installed around the city and worked with law enforcement agencies on whether to close highways.

A big part of the operators' job is to let law enforcement agencies know where the traffic accidents are located, so that police can respond to the crashes, close lanes and direct traffic.

The decision to close highways and roads largely rests with the authorities on the ground, Texas Department of Transportation officials said.

Upstairs from the operation floor, a team of three engineers works with another engineer off-site to monitor conditions and stay in constant communication with TxDOT crews on standby.

For most of Tuesday, patrol trucks cruised the highways looking for ice patches. If they find a patch, one of 30 pump trucks in Bexar County sprayed the road with a special brine.

TxDOT used 20,000 gallons of the 20-23 percent salt solution in preparation for Tuesday, and another 10,000 gallons were used Tuesday in Bexar County roads.

TxDOT officials said the brine is their main weapon to combat ice. 

In dry weather, the brine lasts for about four to five days, but it needs to be monitored for reapplication during freezing weather.