The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is actively engaged in preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Ike along the Gulf Coast. TxDOT continues to monitor traffic conditions along evacuation routes and is in contact with local officials. Courtesy patrols will remain on the road as long as possible. TxDOT continues to utilize dynamic message signs to provide valuable information to evacuees regarding road conditions and shelter services. Personnel from across the state are currently preparing to assist with recovery and clean up operations as soon as conditions allow.
TxDOT has closed all Evaculanes. Traveling on shoulders that are not designated as Evaculanes is dangerous. With Evaculanes closed, motorists should stay on the main lanes and not travel on the shoulders.
TxDOT reminds all employees and drivers to exercise additional caution while working and driving on Texas roadways. Due to the high traffic volume, it is extremely important that travelers make every effort to reduce distractions in their vehicle, observe warning signs and heed instructions from members of law enforcement working to keep roadways clear and moving smoothly. Additionally, we ask that drivers please be patient, as travel times may be longer than normally expected.
TxDOT is removing traffic control devices and other equipment that could create hazards during the storm.
TxDOT altered signal light patterns on U.S. 59 in Corrigan and Nacogdoches and U.S. 96 in Center to facilitate northbound evacuations through East Texas. All other signals have returned to normal operations.
TxDOT is operating courtesy patrols on all evacuation routes to help stranded vehicles and provide emergency assistance to motorists. Patrols will cease in areas where dangerous weather conditions exist.
TxDOT will be working the evacuation routes providing small amounts of fuel to motorists who become stranded while evacuating. The intent is to provide enough fuel to get the stranded vehicle off the road and out of the main traffic flow. TxDOT strongly recommends that drivers along the Gulf Coast fill their fuel tanks and review their storm plans. Even Texans who chose to shelter at home should have fuel and other supplies in the event that the storm disrupts services in their communities.
TxDOT continues to operate multiple comfort stations along evacuation routes.
The Texas Road Condition and Travel Information line (800-452-9292) will be staffed by operators until midnight tonight. Counselors answered more than 1,700 calls yesterday, and more than 9,000 calls have been received since Wednesday. This information line is currently experiencing an increase in calls of more than 300 percent.
The TxDOT Bolivar Ferry operations have been suspended per orders from U.S. Coast Guard.
The TxDOT Bryan District opened two lanes for the U.S. 290/SH36 exit/interchange to U.S. 290 west bound to Austin to alleviate the increased traffic through this area on the west side of Brenham. These lanes will remain open during evacuation.
TxDOT is using portable message signs to convey information on road conditions and services for evacuees.
TxDOT is providing support to state evacuation operations for special-needs individuals in Texas.
TxDOT districts have suspended avoidable lane closures along potential evacuation routes.
TxDOT is in communication with Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern and BNSF Railroads to minimize blockage of highway rail crossings in the southeast Texas region.
Podcasts summarizing the current TxDOT response to Hurricane Ike are available on the TxDOT's "Keep Texas Moving" website: http://www.keeptexasmoving.com/index.php/podcast
TxDOT is actively participating in activities at the State Operations Center in Austin. TxDOT's Emergency Operations Center in Austin is open.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For information on Texas road conditions, call the Texas Road Condition and Travel Information Line (800-452-9292) or visit TxDOT's website: www.txdot.gov
For information on responding to Hurricane Ike, log on to Texas Online: http://www.texasonline.com/portal/tol/en/emergency