Roads back open after slick, dangerous night



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Posted on January 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM

AUSTIN -- The January freeze made for dangerous conditions on Central Texas roads overnight and well into this morning. Officials closed the State Highway 45 flyovers until Friday morning, and they even shut down parts of MoPac Expressway Thursday night. Now that the ice is melted, traffic is moving again.

The morning commute on MoPac was much less crowded than usual Friday morning, but drivers still traveled just as slowly.

"I figure even once everything melts, people are still going to be driving a little bit slow. It's going to be kind of clogged up all day," said driver Eric Gottula.

Just hours earlier, the icy roads caused hundreds of crashes.

"I should have waited a couple hours, until at least 10 or 11," said driver Freddie Lopez.

Lopez was one of many who had trouble overnight after his truck got t-boned around 4 a.m.

"He just slid right into my truck. It freaked me out, because it slid my truck into other traffic. So, I was scared to take off, and I hopped out of my car, and I slipped," he said.

Layers of sand covered some of Austin's tricky spots, and highways and overpasses that closed overnight are now back open.

"There was a couple of slippery parts going through the intersection and changing lanes. Otherwise it was fine," said driver Fern Yee.

"Hopefully it's kind of cleared up down south where I work by now," said Gottula, who drives a flower delivery truck. "I've been a delivery driver for a long time. I feel pretty comfortable behind the wheel. It's the other people I worry about."

It's the same reason many chose to stay at home.

"I looked outside, and there was snow on the ground. I didn't want to chance it. I didn't trust any of the other drivers," said driver Caitlyn Johnson.

Lopez said he wishes he had stayed in, too.

"That's why we pay insurance," he said, laughing.

Austin police said they responded to 250 crashes overnight. They said 140 of those crashes occurred after 4 a.m.