Transportation System Prepared For Threat Of Hurricane Rita - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/21/05 - Austin

Transportation System Prepared For Threat Of Hurricane Rita

With Category 4 Hurricane Rita steadily moving toward the Texas coast Wednesday, the Texas Department of Transportation has begun executing its part of a pre-determined and well-practiced statewide emergency management plan.

“This plan, developed locally and coordinated statewide, is designed to ensure public safety before, during and after a hurricane,” said TxDOT executive director Mike Behrens.

TxDOT has already identified and is positioning teams to respond after the hurricane strikes. In addition, the agency is using its messaging signs to direct traffic along the coast, particularly in the Galveston-Houston area.

“Our focus is simple,” Behrens said. “We will provide the road to safety, we will clear the road to recovery and we will maintain the road home.”

Ongoing or anticipated activities include:

        Local disaster officials are making decisions to implement previously determined transportation plans such as one-way flow, and closing or opening of certain roads/ramps as conditions warrant.

        TxDOT has dedicated three lanes, and if needed will add a fourth lane, for northbound traffic on Interstate 37 out of Corpus Christi.

        The department will be closing strategic ramps on I-45 in Houston later today to facilitate the northbound flow of traffic out of Galveston.

        Suspending operation of ferry service between Galveston Island and Port Bolivar effective at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

        TxDOT employees are working side by side with local emergency management officials to monitor and respond to local transportation needs.

        TxDOT's changeable message signs are being used to help direct traffic.

        TxDOT is also making sure department employees are in the right place and have the materials needed to quickly hit the roads as soon the worst of the hurricane passes to begin clearing highways of debris to allow emergency response to damaged areas.  This preparation includes stocking up on fuel, generators, pumps and emergency communication devices such as satellite phones.

Throughout the emergency, TxDOT will be updating its road conditions hotline (800-452-9292) and Web site,

Source:  Texas Department of Transportation, 125 E. 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2483. (512) 463-8588 FAX (512) 463-9896


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