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December 29, 2009

Trying to keep ice off highways in DFW

Ice Crews are already out on Fort Worth highways, spreading an anti-icing substance to keep bridges passable, Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Holly Hughes said. "They've been out pre-treating since about 9:30," she said, adding that roads and bridges are being treated in Tarrant, Johnson, Parker, Wise and several other counties on the western side of Dallas-Fort Worth. "We've got crews in all areas ready to go out. They'll work until midnight."

The pre-treatment is a liquid magnesium chloride, which when used effectively prevents ice crystals from bonding to road pavement. However, it's a bit tricky to use in North Texas, where snow is often preceded by a cold rain -- which often washes the pre-treatment into the gutter and allows the ice to form anyway.

"At least they're out there trying," Hughes said. "We're prepared for it." If ice forms, the agency can also apply granular forms of deicing material.

In Dallas, crews are already pretreating the High Five interchange of LBJ Freeway and Central Expressway, which has several miles of bridges and flyovers and during freezing events often creates a commuting nightmare for motorists.

-- G.

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