Winter weather wreaks havoc on traffic in Willamson, Bell counties


by JIM BERGAMO and photojournailist DEREK RASOR

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 7:40 PM

JARRELL, Texas -- The winter weather mix that hit Central Texas Thursday night and Friday morning caused traffic problems well past the morning rush hour in Williamson County and beyond.

The effects of the overnight January freeze could still be felt close to noon Friday.

With sheets of ice still on the road, an accident resulted in a miles-long traffic tie up on Interstate Highway 35 northbound in Salado.

"People need to realize you can't drive on this stuff like you can on dry pavement," said Robert Sanchez, a truck driver from Round Rock.

Sanchez headed southbound, so he avoided getting stuck in that particular tie up, but he had plenty to deal with when he hit the road at midnight.

"I started out in Waco last night, and 10 and a half hours later, I'm in Jarrell," said Sanchez. "I-35 has been a sheet of ice at a crawl. At one point I spent six and a half hours in the same spot."

When asked if this ranks up there with some of the worst weather conditions he's experienced as a trucker, Sanchez said, "It actually does, because it's solid ice. I've been in a lot of snow before and subzero temperatures, but the solid ice is really what makes it bad, and this one was pretty bad."

Sanchez said he had been paying attention to the forecasts but didn't expect quite so much ice.

Ross Chavez and Rian Scarborough were on their way back to San Antonio after a job interview in Dallas.

"It was kind of just like ice in the grass," said Chavez. "I don't see this everyday."

"I figured there'd be a few [delays] but not a standstill," said Scarborough. "I was like, 'Oh, come on! There's got to be some smart people today not getting in wrecks.'"

They estimated they lost at least two hours due to the weather problems, but they said they hoped the worst of the weather conditions was now in their rear view mirror.