The Texas Department of Transportation plays a critical role in storm preparation, response and recovery. Each year, along with its hundreds of partners, TxDot reviews its preparation for the next big storm. Raquelle Lewis, the agency’s PIO supervisor here in Houston says at the top of their preparation list was to evaluate communication efforts.
“We believe that the news media is a critical component of our information outreach, and making sure that we get the appropriate information to the public in a timely way. So trying to do the initial leg work, setting those partnerships in place with you all, are just as important as our local agency partners.”
Hurricanes Rita and Ike were two storms that gave the agency a chance to refine its storm operations.
“We look at how we can make improvements and innovate, and be sure we’re prepared for whatever lessons we’re learned from past experiences. We believe we have a great plan, but we know that there’s always improvement, and so whenever we seen an opportunity to do that, we incorporate that in our plans.”
Other steps TxDot takes each year include preparing facilities and equipment needed for quick mobilization, emergency traffic control measures, debris removal, and reviewing evacuation plans like contraflow routes on the major freeways heading out of Houston. You can see TxDot’s storm response at www.texasonline.com and at www.txdot.gov.