Rock On: City Preps for Cold Weather

In advance of cold weather predicted for the Houston area early next week, the city's public works department is getting prepared now, loading trucks full of crushed limestone that can be spread on icy streets. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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Freezing weather doesn't happen often in Houston, but just in case, workers are loading five large dump trucks with chad rock, with crews on stand-by ready to report to affected streets. The city's Wes Johnson says the rock creates traction on icy roads.

"What we do is we put this chad rock down and it actually prevents vehicles from skidding on icy roads and as you well-know if we put it down early and ice comes, then it doesn't do any good at all, so we have to get the calls from 3-1-1 or the Houston Police Department or our supervisors so we'll know when and where to take this chad rock."

Public works has about 2000 tons of the rock on hand for cold weather. Johnson says overpasses freeze over quickly.

"History tells us that the Elysian Street viaduct will ice over most of the time first. The overpass on T.C. Jester just north of Interstate 10 over the railroad track, and then of course the York Street overpass over Buffalo Bayou usually ices over pretty quickly as well."

Johnson says the rock won't hurt vehicles because it's soft and crushes when it's driven on. Public works will only use the rock on surface streets in the city. Freeways are maintained by TX-DOT during cold weather.

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