The Texas Department of Transportation Sunday opened all major highways in the areas of the state hardest hit by a winter storm, but continues to urge drivers to use extreme caution as they could encounter stretches of black ice Monday morning after temperatures fall below freezing again.
By early afternoon, Interstate 20 between Fort Worth and Eastland was reopened in both directions. Traffic was at a standstill for much of the overnight Saturday into Sunday on the interstate because of accidents resulting from a thick layer of ice. Interstate 35 north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and U.S. 75 in Sherman and Denison were in the clearing stages.
Though roadways were cleared, icy slush still remains along the sides of many roads. TxDOT crew members who worked around the clock throughout the weekend planned to continue de-icing and sanding efforts overnight Sunday to reduce the impacts of refreezing. Despite this work, drivers are urged to use extreme caution in the morning because of the potential for black ice, which appears as dry pavement. Ice on bridges and overpasses will continue to be a concern in the impacted areas. In many affected areas, TxDOT’s signs will warn drivers of the following:
“Watch For Black Ice on Bridges, Drive with Caution”
Drivers are urged to follow these precautions:
- Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions. Do not use cruise control.
- Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.
- Watch carefully for personnel and equipment treating roadways, and stay at least 200 feet back from road crews.
- Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
- Carry extra warm coats, gloves and boots in case you get stranded.
- If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you feel you have regained traction, then straighten your vehicle.
Over the weekend, TxDOT has had nearly 1,100 pieces of equipment and 1,700 employees working to clear roadways in North Texas.
Drivers planning on traveling in Texas can get in touch with TXDOT for updates on road conditions at www.twitter.com/txdot or call (800) 452-9292, you can also check Twitter at www.twitter.com/txdot