Dallas Weather: Icy roads cause several crashes, stalls traffic across North Texas
DALLAS - The first of several rounds of winter weather wrapped up Monday, already causing an impact on North Texas roads and highways.
Another widespread round of freezing rain and sleet is expected Tuesday morning.
Road crews have tried to prepare the North Texas highways for the icy weather, but some roads still became slippery. And it’s only going to get worse over the next few days.
Storms developed throughout North Texas Monday afternoon, bringing icy rain and even some sleet.
With temperatures already below freezing, some roads have become slick and dangerous, especially bridges and overpasses.
RELATED: Winter Storm Warning issued for much of North Texas through Wednesday morning
Denton County was in the bullseye from Monday’s first round of winter weather. Freezing rain transitioned to sleet, and it pounded the Denton area for hours.
The result was a mess on I-35 in Denton. Northbound lanes were closed off and eventually opened to just one lane.
Several 18-wheelers got stuck on a bridge near the Denton Buc'ees. Another slid backward on a bridge and blocked traffic. Troopers had to direct traffic and get around the 18-wheelers.
It took a FOX 4 crew about two hours to get from Dallas to Denton.
Unlike last week when it was just slush, there was a solid sheet of ice on major roadways. In some spots, it’s worse, causing multiple vehicles to get stuck.
After Lake Lewisville, that’s when the conditions started to change and become icy on the roads.
What first appeared to be patchy ice quickly turned into a solid, thick covering of ice and sleet. It caused some vehicles to stall, especially 18-wheelers.
Near the Buc-ee's in Denton, the interstate was at a standstill. It was also around the height of rush hour a little after 5:30 p.m.
Denton police say 18-wheelers got stuck on a bridge near the Buc’ees, and authorities had to call in wreckers to help get them off the highway.
Denton police said there was a similar situation northbound near Airport Road where an 18-wheeler slid backward and blocked lanes of traffic.
So far, we have not heard of any injuries as a result of the slick conditions.
Over at the UNT campus, road conditions were just as bad. A thick layer of ice on the roads near the dining hall. We saw dozens of students braving the elements to make it to get dinner.
All TEXpress-managed lanes are now closed because of the weather.
Over in Collin County, the impact of Monday’s weather depended on where you were. It was worse north of McKinney.
But video shows just how little it takes to create a major problem.
A dozen drivers were involved in a crash late in the afternoon in Plano.
A pileup crash involving nearly a dozen vehicles shut down an exit ramp to a service road off Central Expressway near Plano Parkway early Monday evening.
As drivers involved in the crash got off the ramp in damaged vehicles, some explained what happened.
Varshil Parikh says he was traveling about 35 miles per hour when he crashed into a FedEx truck.
"I tried to break, but I couldn’t," he recalled. "So I just tried slamming the brakes. Stop. Slamming the brakes. Stop."
Plano firefighters on scene say it started when a FedEx truck spun out on the icy ramp, causing another FedEx truck to crash into it from behind. Then, it was one vehicle after another.
Amanda Wilson came to pick up her husband who was involved in the crash.
"He just was like, ‘I’ve been in a wreck. Come get me,’" she said.
Wilson says her husband’s airbag went off.
"But I know he tried to do his best to not hit anybody else," she said.
He wasn’t the only one whose airbag went off, but no one was seriously injured.
Two people were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
Earlier in the day in Anna, travel conditions were worse. A wintry mix led to slush and ice on roads and sidewalks.
Some travelers are already experiencing close calls.
People involved in the pile-up in Plano now know it doesn’t take much to have major problems.
"It’s just icy," Parikh said. "It’s just pure ice."
Icy conditions caused some major problems along Highway 114 near the Texas Motor Speedway. It was one of the areas hit hardest by Monday’s round of winter weather.
Parts of the highway were closed in the evening after several 18-wheelers got stuck there.
Monday evening's rush hour came to a complete stop on 114 West in Roanoke when a pair of semis struggled to get up an icy hill.
Both trucks got stuck in the middle of the road, forcing vehicles to maneuver around or wait behind.
Also Monday night, vehicles were seen at a standstill on an ice-covered stretch of Highway 287.
Northbound 287 near the border of Tarrant and Wise counties, two big rigs became stuck, and no one could get around them.
Off 35W near Texas Motor Speedway, drivers pulled over to gas up.
Richard Campbell and his wife are from Branson, Missouri.
"We spent three hours parked on Interstate 35," he said.
The couple is detouring to see family in Granbury before taking the van to Florida.
"It’s 80 degrees in Daytona Beach," Campbell said.
It was in the upper twenties in north Fort Worth with sheets of sleet covering the roads.
MedStar, which provides emergency medical services across Tarrant County, reported more than 100 crashes by 2 p.m. Monday.
By the afternoon and evening, fewer drivers were seen on the roads.
Monday afternoon’s sleet blanketed the Denton-Tarrant County line.
Patchy, freezing precipitation made icy bridges unpredictable. At a stoplight, one semi was seen sliding.
Gerardo Gutierrez has been behind the wheel all day Monday as a ride-share driver.
"Here is the heaviest ice I’ve seen yet compared to Arlington or Fort Worth," he said. "My arrival might be delayed due to the ice on the road."
Once the sun went down, sand trucks headed south of 35W continued their routes with round two expected Tuesday.
Richard Heer is headed home to North Richland Hills after a long day of work.
"It’s a solid sheet of ice right now," he said.
The postal worker says right now he’s still set to work Tuesday.
"Right now, it’s a normal busy day as is," Heer said. "But we will see what they say in the morning."
From the most experienced to white knucklers, caution, reduced speed and being alert cannot be stressed enough since the dangerous spots are sometimes hard to spot.
Gov. Greg Abbott directed the State Emergency Management Department to increase the readiness level for the state operations center to level 2. He ordered about a dozen state agencies to report to the operation center.
Abbott is expected to provide an update on the state response Tuesday morning.
Live Traffic Conditions
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Preparing for Icy Roads
The Texas Department of Transportation began pre-treating bridges and overpasses on Friday when it was warm and sunny. Crews used a brine solution to keep the ice from sticking to the roadways.
Now that some freezing drizzle has fallen and more freezing rain and sleet are in the forecast, crews are focused on the major highways. They are prepared to spot-treat with salt and sand.
TxDOT’s crews will be rotating shifts starting Monday at noon so they can respond at any hour.
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Drivers are urged to pay close attention to road conditions and not go the speed limit.
"Don’t drive to the speed limit necessarily, just drive to the conditions. Take your time and you’ll get there," said Sabrina Ridgway, a North Texas resident. "Don’t speed and be aware of your surroundings."
It’s also not a bad idea to keep a safety kit in the car that includes blankets, hand warmers, portable battery chargers, and an ice scraper.