Freeze leaves dangerous conditions on roads

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 7:12 PM

AUSTIN -- Slick spots and ice are left behind from the freeze overnight.

"It's been pretty chilly," said driver Frances Freeman.

By Friday afternoon, roads were back open and moving freely.

"This morning I was concerned, you know, going over the overpasses, but no, everything was pretty good," Freeman said.

"I really didn't have any problem," said driver Ron Harris.

While many drivers didn't experience trouble on the roads Friday morning, Texas Department of Transportation crews said the roads can be deceiving.

"Just because you don't see snow or anything white on the ground, does not mean that there's not ice. We had a lot of black ice and icy patches," said TxDOT spokeswoman Kelli Reyna.

Reyna said the department had about 100 crews monitoring roadways and preparing roads ahead of the freeze.

"We pre-treat with a liquid de-icer, a liquid magnesium chloride product. That's supposed to stop ice from forming," Reyna said. "There is no cure-all for winter weather, and so, while it did help to prevent ice on a lot of our structures, there were some that we did see some icing on it."

The dangerous conditions caused dozens of crashes, including a multi-vehicle crash on a north 183A flyover and another on the State Highway 45 overpass in Round Rock.

"When you're in a winter weather type situation, please reduce your speed not to 60, to like, 30. You need to make a drastic reduction in your speed to get through an area safely," Reyna said.

Austin police responded to 23 crashes between 4:30 and 9:30 Friday morning, more than a typical rush hour. TxDOT crews will be treating the streets again Friday evening and overnight.

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