Roads closed Thursday after de-icing liquid made pavement too slick

AUSTIN (KXAN) There was some ice out on the roads Thursday in areas across Central Texas, but could the chemicals meant to prevent ice actually make roads worse?

The Texas Department of Transportation said crews used 2,500 gallons of their de-icing material on 300 roads and bridges around Central Texas Thursday morning.

Shortly after, Austin police had to block off the FM 1327 bridge over Interstate 35 after de-icing liquid created dangerous conditions for drivers. An officer said they closed the bridge around 4:30 a.m. as a safety precaution.

“There is the tendency when you’re driving too fast, just like with water, you could slide,” said Kelli Reyna, with TxDOT.

About an hour later, city sand trucks showed up to treat the bridges, and APD reopened the road.

During Austin’s last icing, driver Brian Donaldson wasn’t so lucky. His car spun out of control at the intersection of I-35 and U.S. 183.

“I was going around this curb I go around everyday and the car just kept going,” said Donaldson. “It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t freezing, apparently they put something out to make the roads slick.”

TxDOT says they applied the right amount of liquid de-icer on Thursday, but tell us if too much is laid down drivers could slip.

While TXDOT uses both liquid and granular de-icers, The City of Austin only uses sand-like material to avoid any dangers. TxDOT covers major highways across Central Texas while City of Austin crews treat city roads and bridges.

“When it ices over and you hit an icy patch, you might travel a pretty good ways,” said Fernando Ortegon with The City of Austin’s Public Work’s Department. “With dolomite, it provides traction for the tires…It’s crushed limestone, a granite type, and that’s what we use to treat the streets.”

But whether it’s liquid or sand, when it comes to icy roads, officials say drivers to treat the streets with extreme caution.

 

Thursday morning Austin Police blocked off FM 1327 bridge over IH-35 after de-icing liquid froze on the bridge in South Austin.
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