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Blog: Icy conditions force closures of roads, services in Austin area Saturday

Here's a look at road closures and services closed by icy conditions Feb. 20.

AUSTIN, Texas — While the last of the snow has moved out of the Austin area, residual snow and ice are compounded by a Hard Freeze Warning that is set to expire at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Conditions are still potentially dangerous on Austin area roads and some services remain shut down as the city deals with power outages and cold temperatures.

Many roads are slick. If you must drive, take it slow. If a signal is dark, treat it as a four-way stop.

If you must drive, you can check for road closures on this interactive map.

A look at road and services closures for Feb. 20

4:40 p.m. – The Austin Fire Department responded to several calls in the past 24 hours, from noon on Friday to noon on Saturday:

  • Collisions/Rescues: 64/1
  • Wires arcing/down: 16
  • Public Assist: 26
  • Alarm Activations: 191
  • Fires: 2
  • Broken Water Pipes: 168

1 p.m. – The Austin Transportation Department says that more than 80% of traffic signals are operational. Street and bridge crews are continuing to monitor road conditions.

12:20 p.m. – The direct connects to and from State Highway 130 and U.S. 183 on the 290 toll are now open.

7:30 a.m. – Southbound Interstate 35 from William Cannon to Slaughter Lane remains closed after a fatal crash Friday night where two people were killed when an 18-wheeler and truck collided.

7 a.m. – From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the right mainlane of U.S. 183 will be closed in both directions from U.S. 290 to Manor Road.

5:35 a.m. – TX-183A southbound between San Gabriel Parkway and U.S. 183 is reportedly closed in Leander due to icy conditions.

1:20 a.m. – Northbound Interstate 35 is closed at U.S. 290/State Highway 71 due to a crash. Traffic is detouring to the frontage road at Exit 230.

Tips on how to drive in wintry weather

TxDOT said drivers should follow these guidelines to keep themselves and others safe:

  • Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses, as these are the first to freeze.
  • Reduce your speed. A vehicle needs at least three times more space to stop on a slick roadway. Don't apply the brakes suddenly, and avoid using cruise control.
  • Slow down when approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles, especially when their flashing lights are on. The law requires you to maintain a distance of at least 200 feet when approaching crews. Don't pass on the right, and remember visibility can also be reduced during winter weather conditions.
  • Be patient. Keep to the main roads and avoid taking shortcuts through territory that may not have been treated.
  • Winterize vehicles before traveling during adverse weather. Check fuel, tire, oil and antifreeze levels. Make sure the heater, brakes and windshield wipers are working properly.
  • Check area weather conditions on radio or television before starting a trip.

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