Roads improve across N. Texas following ice, snow

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by JASON WHEELER & MARCUS MOORE

WFAA

Posted on December 26, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 3:52 PM

DALLAS — Plummeting temperatures led to icy road conditions Wednesday morning, however sanding trucks combined with heavy winds cleared away much of the concern by 10 a.m.

However, police in Dallas and Fort Worth did respond to hundreds of crashes caused by slick roads. MedStar paramedics were sent to three dozen crashes in a two hour period on Tuesday evening.

Perilous ice caused many road and bridge closures including ramps on the soaring High Five interchange at LBJ Freeway and North Central Expressway.

Ben Cernotek, the assistant director of street services for the City of Dallas, said Wednesday morning conditions have "improved a bit, as things have dried out a little bit," but still warned for dangerous patches on roads -- particularly overpasses and bridges.

Dallas city spokesman Frank Librio said in an update Wednesday morning that workers sanded a few spots on bridges and elevated surfaces, but it was "pretty quiet" and they received no new dispatch calls. The city's crew of sanding trucks, known as Ice Force 1, was no longer on duty as of 10 a.m. Wednesday. There are no plans to have Ice Force 1 out again Wednesday night.

"The lack of additional precipitation, the high wind, and treatment from the first shift helped to improve conditions overall from last night," Librio's statement read.

In all, the Texas Department of Transportation had 30 trucks dumping salt and sand on bridges and overpasses throughout the region. A spokesman said North Texas benefitted because of the storm's pace. 

"You know, it came in, it hit us, but it didn't keep pounding us like it did at that time," said TXDOT spokesman Mark Pettit.

Christmas Day turned out to be a treacherous day for travel in Dallas.

Street crews thought they were ready, but they got a bit of a surprise. "You think the weather will do one thing, and it turns out to do something different," said Dennis Ware, a spokesman for the Dallas Department of Street Services.

Officials didn't anticipate that roads would get so wet before the mercury plunged. Despite their efforts to apply sand and salt, slushy surfaces quickly ensued.

Perhaps making matters worse, drivers came out in droves in conditions not even fit for a beast. Some ventured into the elements just to see the sights.

"I think it's beautiful," said tourist Tarik Bensahil in Las Colinas. "I think it's a good opportunity to take some pictures and have some souvenirs."

But tow truck driver Mario Salinas predicted that by the time it's all over, plenty motorists will have some less than joyous Christmas memories.

"I thought people would stay home," he said. "It's Christmas, you know? Spend time with their family. Why are you out on the roads wrecking your cars, messing up your vehicles? You know it's going to mess up. It's bound to happen."

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

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