On the way home from work one day last week, I noticed that TxDOT workers had started unfolding the “Watch for ice on bridge” signs. That and the delivery of the phone books marks the beginning of the holiday season for me (although the latter is almost certainly nearing the end of the road, so-to-speak.)
Some folks wonder why the signs are displayed when there’s no ice or even the possibility of it. Well, some time ago (nobody can recall just when, but it was at least a decade ago), TxDOT changed their policy to display these signs from just before the date of the earliest average freeze for an area until after the average last freeze. Prior to that, the signs would only be unfolded when freezing precipitation was forecast. This meant that TxDOT crews often had to scramble to get the signs ready for an incoming storm. Also, as you might imagine, it requires considerable manpower (and thus expense) to go out and unfold every sign, then go back after the storm and fold them back up. Plus, there was always the chance of a freak storm hitting without warning, meaning there would not be time to get the signs opened. So the decision was made to just leave them unfolded for the entire time that ice is typically possible. Yes, it means that most of the time they’re not applicable, but if nothing else, they do raise awareness of the dangers of the season.