Icy weather causes chaos on Austin roads

Truck on its side on State Highway 130 heading south near Pecan Road (Julie Karam/KXAN)
Truck on its side on State Highway 130 heading south near Pecan Road (Julie Karam/KXAN)

Area police and EMS crews were busy Tuesday responding to hundreds of crashes, and multicar pileups in some spots.

Austin police said they had responded to more than 270 crashes since midnight. Since 4 a.m., Leander police worked 19 wrecks, adding on their Twitter feed that “bridges remain icy. Don’t leave the house if you can help it please. Better to be safe than sorry.”

From 5 a.m. to noon, EMS crews responded to 100 wrecks — seven of those were rollovers and three of them pin-ins.

Williamson County EMS said they responded to 65 calls, 40 of those traffic wrecks. In addition, Round Rock police responded to 70 wrecks from 6 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. They had four of their own patrol cars involved in wrecks Tuesday morning.

The dicey road conditions prompted several school and business closures and delays throughout the area. With a surge of car crashes in North Austin, police were asking residents to stay off the roads if they could, especially with overpasses and bridges icing over quickly.

Meanwhile, students on a school bus heading to Mason Elementary in the Leander Independent School District were doing OK after the bus hit a guardrail. It happened in the 11400 block of Cherry Hollow Crossing.

A University of Texas Capital Metro shuttle bus slid into a curb near Red River Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It’s unclear whether anyone was on the bus at the time of the wreck or if anyone was hurt, and there appears to be no damage to the bus.

Austin police officers working the streets Tuesday morning reported ice on U.S. Highway 183 from Lakeline Boulevard down to U.S. Highway 290, according to the department’s Twitter feed. There was also a possible five-car crash reported in the 7900 block of Research Boulevard.

EMS crews responded to a reported 20-car wreck on MoPac near Parmer Lane on the overpass, according to Austin-Travis County EMS officials.

EMS officials said at 6:20 a.m. that multiple crashes are continuing to happen. Since midnight, all 15 crashes requiring EMS were been in North Austin, including North MoPac, Parmer Lane, North U.S. Highway 183 and North State Highway 45.

Crews responded to 10 car crashes within a 30-minute time span, all in the Parmer Lane, North U.S. Highway 183, North MoPac areas — some involving multiple cars.

With many locations falling below freezing, patchy ice popped up on elevated roads, bridges, overpasses and many major roads.

Austin-Travis County EMS crews have had three additional ambulances since the start of this winter storm, dealing with a call volume that “continues to remain heavy.”

In addition to responding to wrecks, EMS crews were also tied up with 35 falls where people slipped on ice.

Scott & White and Round Rock Emergency Department officials say they’ve seen a couple of patients who slipped Tuesday and offered some tips on preventing falls and slips.

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Road that faced closures on Tuesday morning included:

  • The upper deck at Interstate 35 has been closed in both directions.
  • In Round Rock, State Highway 45 ramps are closed due to ice, per Texas Department of Transportation officials.
  • Pflugerville police have closed the bridge at Heatherwilde Boulevard and SH 45.
  • Facing west bound on Braker for the bridge over MoPac
  • Blocking 2 lanes on E US 290 HWY bridge (Berkman overpass)
  • 183 SB at Burnet road blocking the SB proper
  • blocking on ramp to WB Ben White at 4800 block of E Ben White
  • 1 lane shut down NB 10 block North Pleasant Valley (over the river )
  • shut down the iced overpass at 6900 blk S MoPac NB over W Wm Cannon. Still looking for a unit to shut down the southbound side of overpass.
  • blocking an overpass at the 5300 blk of MoPac Northbound. Its the overpass over Northland. MoPac is now closed northbound and southbound at Northland. DPS has closed the southbound lanes.
  • blocking NB 183 proper under 290. pushing all traffic to the service road at Cameron.
  • we are blocking the access ramp onto research s/b in the 9300 blk of research s/b frontage….this is the s/b onramp just before burnet
  • Eastbound Highway 71 forcing traffic off at the Montopolis Drive exit
  • blocking the wb 290 ramp to sb 35 proper on both the proper of 290 and service rd of 290
  • blocking the s/b entrance ramp 183 just south of Lakeline Drive behind the HEB/Texas Land and Cattle Co.
  • S. Capital of Tx NB exit ramp / W US 290 Hwy blocking NB S Cap of Tx. Sand trucks are coming around shortly and hope to open up soon.
  • blocking the westbound off ramp of I45 to NB/SB Hwy 183
  • 400 blk w Ben White (at s 1st st) s.f. eastbound entrance ramp on to Ben White proper had one sand truck come through but it needs more-its still slick
  • blocking the onramp to NB MoPac from Northland. Three cars on the ramp are iced in.
  • Farwest overpass shut down until truck sands it.
  • 10600 S 1st is closed until that bridge is sanded
  • blocking the entrance ramp to Ben White from Congress service road heading west
  • blocking E. Ben White, WB on the proper in the 5500 block. Proper traffic is diverted onto the frontage at the Burleson exit
  • nb ramp from MoPac to Far West as well as the Far West overpass
  • blocking sb MoPac to sb Research flyover – Sand trucks just came through and will reopen shortly
  • blocking at 9200 Research NB and 5300 N MoPac NB
  • Southbound I 35 upper and lower decks
  • MoPac S/B at Northwood Road.
  • blocking 9200 blk e 290 wb on the ramp need street and bridge for ice
  • Bridge at 10000 blk S 1st St iced over
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