Houston Transtar - Ice forces

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

TxDOT crews are out in full force as winter weather conditions cause icy roadways. Motorists are discouraged from traveling unless absolutely necessary.

Houston District crews, as well as others around the state, are working as conditions are expected to deteriorate before the morning rush hour. Maintenance crews with dump trucks loaded with aggregate have been covering TxDOT bridges and overpasses to help improve traction on the structures.

Ice has forced officials to close portions of several freeways throughout the Houston region early this morning.

The slick roads have contributed to several pileups.

Portions of dozens of freeways are closed because of icy conditions.

All toll roads operated by Harris County have been closed due to the ice, Houston Transtar said.

All lanes of Texas 225 eastbound at Scarborough and westbound at Beltway 8 are shutdown. The Westpark Tollway eastbound at FM 1464 and westbound at Rice are closed. The Westpark Tollway also is shut down at Grand Mission, Peek and the Grand Parkway.

U.S. 59 at the Sugar Lake and at the Grand Parkway is closed and two lanes of the freeway are closed at Spur 527. The northbound West Sam Houston Parkway is closed at northbound at Beechnut and at Clay Road. Interstate 10 east and westbound at the Grand Parkway is shutdown.

Wrecks also have blocked portions of freeways as well, especially northbound U.S. 59. A two-car crash closed four lanes at Chimney Rock and a single-car wreck blocked four lanes at the 610 West Loop.

Freezing drizzle and overnight and early-morning temperatures in the 20s have caused the icy conditions, but the area may thaw out slightly by about noon today when the mercury climbs above freezing and precipitation ends, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters said the high will probably struggle to about 37 degrees today. Temperatures are expected to fall back into the upper 20s overnight.

Weather officials said elevated portions of freeways and bridges are especially vulnerable to ice because cold air is flowing beneath them. Water is less likely to freeze on surface streets area because they are built on the ground.

Officials warn motorists to remain on surface streets and drive cautiously. Officials also are asking people to delay any driving they have to do today.

The bad weather forced Metro to suspend Park & Ride services all day Friday.

Regular buses will operate as scheduled but will be subject to detours authorities put in place because of icy roads.

Metro rail has been unaffected by the ice and will run at 10-minute intervals. Extra train cars will be added to the trains to accommodate more passengers.

Forecasters said the area will probably warm up Saturday when the cold air slides eastward. The high Saturday will top out in the lower 50s and the sun is likely to peek out.

Clouds increase Sunday when the high will be about 60 degrees. The overnight will be 40.

Areas near Bryan College Station saw light snow overnight Thursday while the Dallas/Fort Worth area recorded about 5 inches of the fluffy stuff.