TxDOT Road Condition 6:00 p.m. Update

The Texas Department of Transportation is warning motorists to stay off the highways as crews continue efforts to clear away debris.  Many of the areas major highways have been rendered impassable and having traffic on them would impede clean up efforts.

TxDOT and other emergency officials are assessing and cleaning up the damage done by Hurricane Rita.  Trees have been uprooted and thrown across highways as well as power lines and other debris creating a dangerous situation for motorists.  Many traffic signals are also inoperable.

“It is not safe to travel inEast Texas and those who attempt to will experience extensive delays and fuel and food shortages,” said Kathi White, TxDOT spokeswoman.  “Our advice to evacuees and local residents is to stay where you are until the highways are cleaned up and road conditions improve. Crews will be working around the clock to reopen affected highways.”

TxDOT has fueled buses, ambulances and passenger vehicles during the Hurricane Rita crisis but now can only provide stranded motorists with enough fuel to get off the road.

“TxDOT cannot provide the fuel needed to get evacuees back home,” White said. “A return plan for residents of communities in storm-impacted areas is pending further damage assessment.  These counties include: Galveston, Angelina, Polk, San Jacinto, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Orange, Tyler, Hardin, Jasper, and Newton.”

Residents are asked to please adhere to return schedules to help ease traffic and allow emergency and clean-up personnel time to get into the area first.  Motorists can call 1-800-452-9292 for road conditions.

Following is a list of highways impacted by Hurricane Rita resulting in downed trees and other debris:

        Angelina County: SH 103 East remains closed US 69 North and South are open; US 59 is open from San Jacinto County to Garrison but closed from Timpson to Garrison; SH 103 remain closed; are drivable but there is some debris. SH 147; SH 94 open

        Houston County: Clean up is underway on US 287 North and several FM roads.

        Nacogdoches County: Debris being clean off of SH 21 East and West, SH 95, and SH 7 East; US 259, US 59 from Attoyac to the Angelina River, SH 7 West, FM 226, FM 343, and FM 138 have been cleared.

        Polk County: FM 357 and SH 146 are not passable due to downed trees and power lines. US 190 from Livingston to Tyler County, FM 1276, FM 943, FM 2665, FM 350, and FM 1987 are all open;  Evacuees trying to return to Houston are asked to avoid the area as officials work to evacuate residents who live below the Livingston Dam, which has been damaged by Hurricane Rita.  Evacuees from San Jacinto County are being bused to the Intermediate school on Loop 424; San Jacinto County evacuees are being taken to the VFW on US 59 North of Livingston.

        Sabine County: SH 184; SH 103 East; SH 87; and SH 21 are all closed.

        San Augustine County: US 96 from the Shelby County Line through Sabine County is open. SH 21 east and West remain closed.

        San Jacinto County: US 59 is open; several FM roads remain closed.

        Shelby County: All major highways have been cleared of debris. Numerous FM roads have debris but are drivable with caution.

        Trinity County: All roads are clear.