WACO (March 3, 2014)—Temperatures have dropped below freezing on 70 days so far this winter and the cold combined with successive rounds of freezing precipitation has kept Texas Department of Transportation crews busy.
So far this winter, TXDOT has used 450 tons of de-icing material compared to only 14 tons in the winter of 2012-2013, a more than 3,000 percent increase.
“We've had some bad winters in the past, but nothing like this in recent years because we haven't had this many cold events back to back-to-back,” TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts said.
And TxDOT crews are standing by in anticipation of the possibility of sleet and freezing overnight.
“We are ready tonight if more precipitation falls to de-ice the bridges and overpasses first, and then the roads,” he said. (John Carroll)
CENTRAL TEXAS (March 4, 2014) Ice had roadways snarled throughout Central Texas Tuesday as freezing rain was falling south and west of Waco.
Waco police at about 7 a.m. closed a portion of South Loop 340 between South 12th Street and University Parks due to an accumulation of ice on the roadways and bridges but by 9 a.m. the roadway had re-opened, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
Police worked a series of accidents near South 12th Street and the Loop but details of the accidents was not immediately available.
Police also closed the westbound Loop 340 bridge over Interstate 35 at about 7:15 a.m. but it, as well, had re-opened by 9 a.m.
Schools throughout the region had announced delayed start times as well.
Tuesday is primary election day and there was some concern about polling places being open on time, but at least in Bell and Coryell counties the elections administrators said polls would open at 7 a.m.
Some short delays could be experienced in Killeen ISD polling places.
In Coryell County voters may go to the tax office web page and find a polling place closest to them without regard to voting precincts.
The Department of Public Safety was reporting several minor crashes along Interstate 35 between Lorena and Temple that were forcing traffic to a snail’s pace.
The Texas Department of Transportation had sanding trucks all over Central Texas trying to keep up with accumulations of ice on bridges and overpasses.
The worst problems seemed to be west of Waco in Coryell, Mills and Lampasas counties, but Bell County was reporting a large numbers of problems, as well.
Problems in McLennan County were on the increase by 6 a.m. as rain and freezing rain was reported in several areas in Waco, Woodway and Hewitt.
A sheriff’s office dispatcher in Gatesville said early conditions were very poor throughout the county, especially in the Copperas Cove area.
Precipitation had stopped but roadways were icy and bridges were passable but treacherous all over the county.
There were no road closures in Coryell County, she said.