WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Recent cold weather has created some slick spots on roads causing a number of wrecks.
TxDOT officials have been treating the roads in hopes of less accidents over the next few days and into the weekend.
Officials said they use brine every time the roads become icy. But with this weather looking to stay through the next week, the work for TxDOT has just begun.
The polar vortex has driven frigid air into Texoma. Area first responders and law enforcement were kept busy with numerous wrecks, including several truck rollovers, such as this FedEx truck on U.S. 287 near Maurine Street. Because of this, TxDOT officials are urging people to slow down.
“You cannot drive the speed limit during a storm. You’re going to have to slow it down, way down,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Adèle Lewis said. “The wrecks that we were seeing in Wichita Falls, on the freeway system this morning were being attributed to people driving too fast.”
While TxDOT officials were pre-treating roads, Wichita Falls Police responded to around 35 accidents that started as early as 4:45 in the morning and slowly declining throughout the day.
“We’ve had some people transferred to the hospital but no major injuries occurred this morning,” WFPD Public Information Officr Sgt. Charlie Eipper said. “It looks like people were just surprised by [how] slippery it was. It was pretty deceiving even to myself. I walked out at first wondering why school was canceled then once I hit the road I understood.”
Bridges and overpasses are the primary concern for TxDOT and officials recommend taking state highways and roadways that have been treated.
Lewis said TxDOT officials are working around the clock until the roads are in excellent shape.
“Once the storm is cleaned up, we will also go ahead and completely do another prep job on pre-treating all the roads, bridges and overpasses in order to be ready in case more precipitation can fall,” Lewis said.
Even with colder temperatures ahead, the coldest to be Feb. 15, law enforcement officials know people will still travel and they hope they do so safely.
“Give yourself an extra 30 minutes just if you’re going somewhere within the city. Drive slow, anticipate stopping, concentrate,” Eipper said. “If you’re passing by accidents, please, please don’t let that divert your attention and cause an accident yourself.”
Following these rules or just staying home, can keep you safe while traveling.
Lewis also advises people not to get in front of TxDOT snowplows if they see them on the road.