Icy roads caused dozens of crashes in the Austin metro area on rush hour Tuesday evening, including one that resulted in a man’s death.
Precipitation began to fall in parts of Travis and Williamson counties around 3:45 p.m., icing overpasses and bridges in the area. At 6 p.m., first responders were handling about 30 crashes throughout Travis County.
Medics responded to the fatal crash just before 5 p.m. on Texas 71 near Bee Cave, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. Eight other people were injured in that crash.
Ice on the road is suspected to be a factor in the three-vehicle collision at the highway’s intersection with Spanish Oaks Club Boulevard, Austin-Travis County EMS Cmdr. Mike Benavides said.
“It was clearly iced over,” Benavides said.
One man died at the scene, EMS officials said. The other eight victims’ injuries are not expected to be fatal.
Highway 71 in west Travis County west of Bee Creek Rd. (esp. west of Bob Wire Rd/reimer-Peacock Rd) is icing up and not just the bridges. I wasn't sure I was going to make it. @TravisCOSW #ATXTraffic #Atxweather #atxwx— JamesGrebeTiptrees (@grebetrees) January 3, 2018
The National Weather Service released a statement at 3:45 p.m. that there was a possibility of light snow and freezing drizzle and that “impacts to travel will be minor, if at all.”
However, just after 5 p.m., the weather service issued a winter weather advisory as it became clear that icy roads were causing widespread collisions throughout the Austin metro area.
Cedar Park police temporarily diverted traffic from the U.S. 183A and Texas 45 toll roads due to dangerous icy conditions.
Four vehicles were involved in a crash on West Parmer Lane, just north of McNeil Drive, where a bridge iced over, Williamson County sheriff’s officials said. No serious injuries were reported in that crash.
Police temporarily shut down RM 1431, near Cedar Park, after a collision where there was suspected ice on the overpass, said Austin-Travis County EMS officials. No one needed to be taken to the hospital in that incident.
Austin police temporarily closed at least four different roads and highway, including the Steck Avenue overpass on MoPac Boulevard, U.S. 183, Far West Boulevard and the northbound ramp to MoPac from U.S. 183.
Capital Metro buses took detours to avoid bridges and flyovers, warning its riders to expect delays.
Looking forward, no rain is expected in Austin on Wednesday. However, temperatures will be below freezing until 10 a.m.
Therefore, Austinites should watch the weather forecast carefully as morning rush hour nears, because roads could ice again if precipitation does fall.