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Dallas' Ice Force One Tackles Slush, Ice, Downed Trees

The next shift rolls out to sand and salt Dallas' icy, slush streets. Crews work 12 hours on, 12 hours off, until officials say streets are clear and passable.

About 100 Dallas workers are dropping sand and salt at this hour, to make roads passable. They’re members of the second 12-hour shift of the city’s Ice Force One road crew. Meet some members of the first shift, who worked midnight to noon Friday.

At 8:30 Friday morning, a lot of people may have been awake, but not many were headed out on Dallas' icy streets. Armando Salcedo, however, had been driving for eight and a half hours already.

“If you take your time, shouldn’t be no problem. I mean it’s slushy, not that much ice.”

Salcedo stopped his city dump truck filled with sand to move a tree limb off Mockingbird Lane. Farther north, near Forest, twenty-year street crew veteran Albert Acosta said little was sticking on well-traveled roads. But, as he warmed up at the end of his shift, he said  he still saw bad problems last night.

“Just the transformers exploding. And people stranded and wrecks everywhere,” said Acosta.  

Colleague Adrian Lopez, also fresh off the midnight shift, had a different reaction. He’s worked these winter crews now for six years.

I’ve seen worse,” commented Lopez. “If I were to rate this, it was probably 5th worst. I’ve seen worse than this. Doesn’t mean nothing to me. This is good compared to most times.”

But he worries temperatures will drop by 11:30 pm, when he shows up for work again.

“Expected to get worse tonight. So we got around-the-clock crews working.  Everything should be fine, next couple days.”

But it may take at least a couple days, because temperatures aren’t expected to rise above freezing until Sunday afternoon. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.