Cars sliding on icy bridge in South Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A powerful cold front dropped temperatures and brought freezing rain across Central Texas overnight. Central Texas school districts decided to cancel classes, rather than roll buses on icy roadways throughout the area.

Icy conditions are on the bridge at Slaughter Lane approaching Manchaca Road. Austin police say a car slid into the guardrail on the bridge over the railroad tracks in the 1600 block of West Slaughter Lane. The wreck left the front of the car sticking out over the bridge, but the driver is out of the car. While the car is not drivable, the driver was not hurt. Police say other cars have been sliding on the bridge, and they have one lane blocked.

In Williamson County, an 18-wheeler wreck on Interstate 35 heading north in Jarrell around exit 274 and 275 has closed several lanes of traffic. A caller reported seeing the 18-wheeler slide in the wreck, and Williamson County spokeswoman Connie Watson says the trucker hit the guardrail. There were no other cars involved, and the driver was not hurt. Officials are asking drivers to avoid the area if possible due to travel delays.

Some windy conditions early Thursday morning may have caused a tree to go down, blocking the road at Sprinkle Cutoff Road and Samsung Boulevard just east of Dessau Road. The tree has been cleared. A Wind Advisory was in effect overnight, and we’ve seen gusts up to 40 mph. That’s making it feel even colder out there.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Cross says crews are working two 12-hour shifts, making sure they’re covered all day to keep drivers safe on the roads. They are monitoring the areas prone to ice, as well as responding to reports that they get from neighbors about ice on the road. Cross says he and his crews are also out on the road, driving around the area to be proactive about treating icy spots.

Early Thursday morning, EMS crews responded to a rollover wreck on U.S. Highway 183 that they say was caused by ice on the road. The wreck happened heading north between McNeil and Oak Knoll near Technology Boulevard. Ice has also been reported at U.S. 183 near Braker Lane.

Austin police also responded to a wreck on the south side of U.S. 183 in this same area. Weather was a factor in both wrecks — which have since cleared. Austin-Travis County EMS Capt. Rick Rutledge says there were no serious injuries in those wrecks.

“Most people panic, they jam the break as hard as they can. And locked wheels don’t do well on ice,” said Rutledge, speaking about what sometimes happens during wrecks on ice.

In North Austin, we’re seeing ice reported on the Parmer Lane overpass at Interstate 35. Ice has also been reported on West Parmer Lane and MoPac. Another spot on Parmer Lane with reported ice is sitting at State Highway 130, hampering traffic a bit in that area out toward Manor.

Ice has also been reported at U.S. 183 at Spicewood Springs Road. Police have been keeping busy on U.S. 183.

“Our main issues are on Research Boulevard from Braker all the way north and on those overpasses,” said Senior Austin Police Officer Veneza Bremner, who added that there have been three crashes in that area already Thursday morning.

Bremner says as officers see ice on the road, they call TxDOT crews to treat the area.

“We’re not used to this icy weather a lot of the time, so we have to take precautions as well,” said Bremner, speaking of the officers on duty and on the roads.

As for the U.S. 183 toll roads, crews applied de-icing agents overnight on U.S. 183A and State Highway 290 toll road bridges and overpasses. Officials say roads are passable.

For State Highway 45 heading west, ice has been reported near Buda on Turnersville Road.

In Leander, crews have been busy sanding on Ronald Reagan Boulevard in between State Highway 29 and Crystal Falls Parkway. Bridges were the focus in this area. In Northwest Williamson County, there are reports of ice on State Highway 195. Traffic is slow as it approaches I-35.

Texas Department of Transportation officials say travel is discouraged due to icy conditions on several roads in Travis County, such as MoPac at Loop 360 and Congress Avenue South of U.S. Highway 290. TxDOT spokesman Chris Bishop says this advisory is out of an abundance of caution. He says when crews see ice forming on signs or posts on the road, they call it in. He says it doesn’t necessarily mean that ice is on the road — just that it could form.

Ice has formed on State Highway 130 and FM 685, which is just north of East Pflugerville Parkway.

Black ice has been reported on State Highway 21 in Bastrop.

Sleet in Llano (Samantha/ReportIt)
Sleet in Llano (Samantha/ReportIt)

In Llano, black ice is reported on Highway 152, State Highway 29, and State Highway 71. Crews have been sanding the City of Llano Bridge, where one wreck was reported. However, there have been no closures.

In Gillespie County, roads are reported “wet and slushy,” with little ice reported. Snow has been reported in the northern and western parts of the county. There have been no closures and no accidents, however.

In Mason County, officials were working a crash with minor injuries. Officials say they are not sure if it was weather-related, but deputies reported ice on their cars.

In Burnet, there has been patchy ice on Highway 281 north and SH 29. Still, there have been no closures or wrecks. In Burnet County, ice was reported on U.S. 183 and Highway 281 north of Burnet.

Schools closed

Central Texas’ largest districts announced they would be closed Thursday. KXAN has the latest list of districts who decided to close or delay the start of classes here.

Road conditions

Drivers are urged to stay home and off the roads, but some Central Texans still have get to work. KXAN traffic reporter Amanda Dugan is keeping track of which roads are closed and of the accidents across the area.

Traffic Tools

Warm-up ahead?

Friday’s forecast calls for temperatures to remain above freezing, but First Warning Weather Meteorologist David Yeomans says our lows will remain in the 30s until Monday, when he expects temperatures to reach the 40s. He also says with the falling temperatures early Thursday morning, things could get worse before they get better. The Full First Warning Weather forecast is here

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