NTSB: 'Deficient' roadway maintenance, speeding drivers led to deadly winter weather pileup on I-35W

Federal investigators found the company responsible for maintaining I-35W in Fort Worth failed to properly "monitor and address icy roadway conditions" ahead of the deadly pileup during the Texas Winter Storm in 2021

Six people died and dozens of others were injured after a series of crashes involving 135 vehicles on the southbound lanes of the interstate during icy weather on the morning of February 11, 2021.


6 dead, dozens injured in I-35W pileup in Fort Worth involving 135 vehicles

Officials said six people were pronounced dead following the pileup crash, which stretched for nearly a mile in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35W near Northside Drive north of downtown.

According to a report by the National Safety Transportation Board, North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners Segment 3 (NTEMP S3), which is the company responsible for maintaining I-35W, pretreated the elevated portion of road where the crash happened 44 hours beforehand with a "liquid brine solution."

They put down salt in some portions of the interstate on Feb. 11, but not the section where the crash happened.

Crews also drove the northbound lanes to visually check the roadway, but didn’t report moisture, so they didn’t apply salt.

NTSB investigators found NTEMP S3’s process for maintaining the roadway was "deficient," as they did not find that additional de-icing treatment was needed, despite continued precipitation and freezing temperatures that left the roadway icy.

In addition to that, the NTSB found speeding drivers also led to the deadly crash.

Investigators found road sensors detected average speeds above 100 miles per hour in the left lane of the interstate. The speed limit there is 75.


Report: Drivers hit average speed of 100+ mph just before deadly I-35W pileup

Federal investigators discovered drivers were going too fast just before a deadly pileup on an icy day in Fort Worth.

Following its investigation, the NTSB recommended Texas install variable speed-limit signs, add sensors to reduce response times to weather-related hazardous road conditions, and provide training to Texas toll road facilities on how to better respond to winter storms.