METRO closes HOV lanes for Wednesday morning commute due to icy conditions


by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 5:56 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 6:20 PM

HOUSTON—Thousands of commuters got a shock Wednesday morning when their normal route to downtown was locked up tight.

Thirty-four thousand drivers use the METRO HOV/HOT lanes and could not on Wednesday morning.

“Safety is our number one priority, and if we had any concerns it was better to be cautious on the side of safety,” said Thomas Lambert, METRO Operations Vice President said.

Crews did not make the decision from afar. METRO Police and Mobility crews were hands on checking for themselves.

“We ran all the HOV lanes about 3 in the morning and the problem is you are dealing with a reversible lane and one that does not have a lot of traffic on it,” Lambert said.

Those crews found some icy spots and after the images of METRO buses stuck on iced over ramps on Friday the decision making Wednesday morning was easy.

METRO said that there were some reports of slower than normal routes, but no significant delays.

Even bus riders that were used to cruising down the HOV did not seem to be bothered by the change once they got downtown.

“It was normal time today. I did not see a change,” said Shekar Meela, who rides the bus every morning. “These days, everyday it doesn’t matter it is taking forever actually.”

The news did cause some people to change their plans.

 “That is why I left later.  Because I thought traffic would be lighter if I left later,” said Kate O’Neil.