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The Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, oversees Texas transportation and is headquartered in Austin. The Texas Legislature created the organization in 1917, although the agency has had several names throughout the past century.TxDOT is run by a five-member commission and an executive director selected by the commission. Commission members are appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Texas Senate, and serve overlapping six-year terms.The department is divided into 25 districts, each of which oversees construction and maintenance of state highways. Austin’s district includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson counties.In Austin, the organization encompasses entities including Capital Metro; the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, known as CAMPO; the city’s transportation department; and the chamber of commerce. TxDOT organized the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign, which began in 1986. Also, it runs the TxTag program, which bills drivers for highway tolls by scanning a sticker on the driver’s windshield at toll stations.

TxDOT Is Pretreating Highways Ahead Of Possible Freezing Rain Wednesday

There is a chance of light freezing rain in the Austin area Wednesday. The National Weather Service notes this forecast may significantly change as Wednesday gets closer.
National Weather Service
There is a chance of light freezing rain in the Austin area Wednesday. The National Weather Service notes this forecast may significantly change as Wednesday gets closer.

A mix of rain and freezing rain is possible in Austin late Tuesday night into Wednesday. Crews started pretreating Austin highways at 9 a.m. Monday for potential ice, the Texas Department of Transporation said.

A forecast map from the National Weather Service shows the Hill Country, including western parts of Austin and Travis County, in the possible area for freezing rain. There is currently no chance of snow or sleet accumulations. 

Central and downtown Austin are just outside of the forecast area for freezing rain. As of Monday morning, the forecast low for Tuesday night in Austin is 36° F with a 70 percent chance of rain Wednesday. 

Here's what you need to know if you're hitting the road on Wednesday:

1. Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses. Those are the first to freeze, TxDOT warns.

2. Slow down. A vehicle needs at least three times more space to stop on a slick road. Do not apply the brakes suddenly, and avoid using cruise control, so you can react better if you encounter slippery roads.

3. Do you see emergency vehicles or flashing lights ahead? Slow down! And stay at least 200 feet away from the back of a de-icing truck.

A TxDOT de-icing truck ready to pretreat Austin highways.
Credit Texas Department of Transportation
A TxDOT de-icing truck ready to pretreat Austin highways.

4. Be patient. Your trip time could be a lot longer with adverse weather conditions. Keep to main roads and avoid taking shortcuts on roads that may not have been treated.

5. Finally, check fuel, tire, oil and antifreeze levels before heading out, TxDOT suggests. Make sure your car's heater, brakes and windshield wipers are working properly. 

Work crews and trucks will be on standby to respond to any ice situations.

After Wednesday, you can expect sunny — but very cold — days with lows in the 30s. The NWS warns that wind chills Wednesday and Thursday morning will possibly be in the teens and 20s.

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