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Winter Blast Disrupts Travel

By BJ

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-949644.mp3

Dallas, TX –

Roads are icy and treacherous this morning as a deep winter storm arrives in North Texas. KERA's BJ Austin says sanding trucks are playing catch up.

The rain that preceded the heavy sleet and snow made it virtually impossible to pre-treat bridges and overpasses with de-icing solution. Mark Pettit with the Dallas TxDOT District says a lot of winter precipitation fell in a very short time and that had sanding crews scrambling early.

Pettit: It looks like we'll be able to catch up on top of it as long as it doesn't kick in again, and as long as people continue to drive carefully.

Pettit says additional crews were called in and the Dallas area has about 120 sand trucks on the road. In the Tarrant TxDot District, Val Lopez say they've got extras working too.

Lopez: We know we have more people in the metroplex because of it being Super Week. So, we've really made a high level commitment to do provide as high a level service as we possible could. To that end, we've called in additional crews from around the state.

Some highway ramps are closed due to icing. Over-stressed sanding crews are working to get to them. Accidents are piling up on freeways and side streets. The majority of side streets have little treatment and remain difficult to navigate.

There is no DART light rail service. DART's Morgan Lyons says the icy and wind has frozen overhead lines and switches. He says rail service won't resume until the frozen precipitation end. That should happen sometime after noon.

DFW Airport was temporarily closed because of icy conditions this morning. More than 300 flights were cancelled early. More to follow. Southwest Airlines cancelled all Love Field flights scheduled before 11:30. More cancellations are possible. Airport officials say CALL AHEAD.

Dan Ronan, with Triple-A-Texas says speed is not your friend on these icy roads. Take it very very slowly. He says all 25 towing companies that contract with Triple-A are on the job and busy.