Ice on roads, power outages cause traffic accidents, street closures

HARLINGEN — City officials are asking residents to stay indoors and off the roadways due to the extreme cold weather conditions, with traffic accidents caused by ice on the roads and power outages.

“We are currently working several motor vehicle crashes throughout the city due to ice build-up on some roadways,” the Harlingen Police Department posted on its Facebook page.

At the same time, the City of Harlingen experienced power outages throughout areas of the city.

“Several traffic control devices are not working. If you approach an intersection with the traffic control device not working, please remember to make a complete stop and only proceed through the intersection when safe to do so,” the city’s Facebook page reported.

According to reports, areas without power as of Monday afternoon included Dixieland Road, Haverford, Ed Carey, Business 77, East Washington and Loop 499.

Also, police reported ice formed on the Expressway 83/77 interchange bridges.

“Be advised that parts of the expressway and interchange and bridges are closed due to the ice and accidents that are occurring.  TxDOT is working on spraying the expressway, interchanges, and bridges to help out,” the City of Harlingen posted on Facebook.

The Arroyo bridge at 1500 S. 77 Sunshine Strip was also reported completely iced up.

Power outages were also reported Monday in areas on West Lincoln to Valle Vista Mall.

Several traffic accidents occurred due to the power being out on the east side of the city, from Commerce to Business 77.

The City of Harlingen reported Monday police units were working to shut down the interchange where a semi-truck jackknifed on the westbound lane.

Another accident occurred on the southbound Primera road overpass. A car slid out of control due to ice, and TXDOT was contacted for help.

Lastly, a vehicle accident was reported on the Expressway Westbound 83 overpass.

Octavio Saenz, Public Information Officer for TxDOT, said one of the most important things to do is stay off the roads and if necessary, slow down while driving.

“One of the things we want to tell people is this is a constant change in the situation. We contribute to safely look at the roads, and the last resort is closing the road. But we have to evaluate the situation,” Saenz said.

“A lot depends on driver behavior, avoid the overpasses, the flyovers, the connections any structure that is elevated freezes really quick they need brine to help, which essentially is saltwater which has been added these days,” he said.

For those who must be on the roads, Saenz suggested slowing down and keeping a safe distance between the vehicle in front.

“We are at the mercy of Mother Nature, but we need to avoid the highway and roads. If you feel your vehicle start to swerve avoid slamming the brake, ease off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skit,” he said.

For more information on road closures, visit drivetexas.org or call 1-800-452-9292.  

ecavazos@valleystar.com