Truckers mixed on whether crews were prepared for ice storm - Dallas News |

Truckers mixed on whether crews were prepared for ice storm

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Following the North Texas ice storm, the thaw has begun, and roadways are starting to run smoothly. However, there is some frustration from drivers who were stranded, wondering why it took so long to clear the ice.

"We went out and pretreated with some liquid magnesium chloride," said Tony Hartzel, with the TXDOT Dallas District. "We went out and pretreated the High Five and all of these other challenging areas."

The Texas Department of Transportation's plan that worked in theory was frozen in reality.

"Sometimes the storm comes in with a lot more than we anticipate or a lot more than we can handle, given the resources that we have and the amount of roads that we have to cover."

Illinois trucker Terry Wilshire feels Texas is fighting winter weather with the wrong equipment. It took him two and a half days to go 600 miles.

"Texas is one of the best states in the union," said Wilshire. "They're doing the best financially, they've got a great governor, and yet they have no plows," he said.

Hartzel says crews weren't expecting go see so much ice.

"The cobblestone ice occurred because we were hearing predictions of a quarter to a half inch of sleet," said Hartzel. "We ended up getting four to six inches falling in Denton and Collin County."

Hartzel also says the process involved in tackling the ice is difficult.

"You have to get in there and really take it layer by layer, shave off a layer with what we call our motor graders, those tractor pieces of equipment," he said. "Once you chew that off, then push it aside with snow plows."

Civil engineer Naser Abusaad designs and plans roads and has done work on I-35. He says there may be no remedy to interstates becoming parking lots with truckers and travelers ice-locked.

"Texas and this Metroplex, we have a lot of bridges," he said. "Those are the first to freeze and the last to thaw out."

Another trucker, Dan Weeks, says he thinks Texas did a good job in trying to keep roads clear during the storm, and that the only thing to do in such weather situations is wait for the heat to melt the ice.

Bridges and overpasses in some areas are still a problem, but each day they are getting better.

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