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Crews, Drivers Deal With Icy Road Conditions

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – From interstates to highways to side streets — a sheet of ice, and in some cases snow and slush, covered North Texas roads for Friday morning’s commute.

With school districts closed across the metroplex and many offices shut down, traffic was light along area roadways. Those who ventured out into the winter storm found treacherous driving conditions.

The weather likely played a role in a deadly Arlington crash early Friday morning on I-20 near Cooper Street.   A 29-year-old man died when his sedan hit the back of an 18-wheeler.

Accidents and stalled out cars littered North Texas roadways overnight and into the early morning hours.  The ramp from eastbound Hwy. 183 to northbound 161 was shut down for hours due to a stalled out 18 wheeler.  The Fort Worth mixmaster was a problem area throughout the morning, with as many as seven cars stuck on one ramp due to the heavy ice.  On another ramp, two semi trucks were stalled out.

CBS 11 meteorologist Jeff Ray was stationed there for much of the morning watching drivers try to maneuver the mess.

“If you creep along slowly you can get over them,” he said while reporting live from that location.  Around 7 a.m., Jeff Ray reported seeing two accidents in the area, which caused a traffic to backup on I-30 westbound.

Road crews tried furiously to keep up with the storm.

“It has come down faster than we thought,” Natalie Galindo from TxDOT told CBS 11 News. Galindo said crews had been out nonstop since the start of the winter storm treating roads, bridges and overpasses.

NTTA crews were operating at full strength throughout the night, and on Friday morning snow plows were furiously trying to treat the bridges and overpasses where the ice had turned over to snow.  NTTA has nine sanding trucks with mounted snow plows, and spokesperson Michael Rey said they were focused on treating the bridges and overpasses first.  Another 79 dump trucks are also out spreading sand across NTTA roadways.

Problems were not limited to the roads. DART passengers were told to expect delays as all light rail service was canceled and bus service was added as a replacement.

“Although trains ran as much as they could, we started having problems around midnight,” said Mark Ball, a spokesperson with DART.  Ball said the decision was made around 7 a.m. to stop light rail service due to the increasing threat that passengers would get stuck on the trains.

TRE customers were also told to expect delays.

As of 8 a.m., MedStar in Fort Worth has responded to 41 crashes and 10 falls in the past 16 hours.  The company has responded to 163 weather related calls in the same time period.

By Friday afternoon, icy roads had prompted an emergency shutdown of all lanes on the westbound I-30 bridge ramp across the Trinity River. The closure starts just under the Houston Street Viaduct to the area where I-35E southbound drivers merge on to westbound I-30. Crews were working to de-ice the area to try to make it safe for drivers.

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