Bexar County has unveiled a new electronic warning system for flash flood protection on rural roads. The new High-water Alert Lifesaving Technology (HALT) crossing guard system will protect drivers at 52 low-water crossings.
HALT is Bexar County’s latest investment to protect drivers from drowning.
Shepherd Road is a dark, two-lane passage that transports thousands more drivers than it was built to accommodate. It passes over creekbeds more than once, and during a hard rain the straight, fast road has been deadly.
Bexar County Public Works Director Renee Green said the system is a high-tech commitment that offers drivers online access for immediate driving conditions.
"And you’ll be able to see on our website which locations have water across the road and which do not. And they’ll be in a very simple format. Green is good, yellow is caution, and red is: ‘Stop, turn around, don’t drown,'" she said.
The area continues to grow with new jobs offered at Port San Antonio and in the fracking fields south of town. Southwest ISD Superintendent Dr. Lloyd Verstufyt said that in an area where the population has doubled in recent years, there are now 13,000 students that must get to school safely.
“We’re prone to have a lot of low-water crossings, so the attention that we’re receiving from the county to make sure that our students, that our staff, that our community members have safe passage to and from work is very critical to this environment and very critical to our community," Verstufyt said.
The new crossing arms are solar-powered with battery back-up. The HALT system is part of the county’s 10-year flood control program that recently restructured bridges over two low-water crossings on Shepherd Road and continues to re-build roads and drainage systems in and around San Antonio.