TxDOT explains ice storm response

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 12:13 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 12:20 AM

FORT WORTH — After four days of clogged interstates with traffic backups stretching 15 miles or more at some points, some drivers and truckers are wondering what is taking Texas Department of Transportation work crews so long to clear the roads.

Extra personnel from elsewhere around the state didn't arrive until Saturday — two days after the storm moved in, and heavy-duty motor graders didn't make any headway on the roads until Sunday.

TxDOT said that was the earliest point at which temperatures cooperated enough for the graders to be effective.

"The motor graders aren't very effective on bridge decks until we get temperatures above freezing," explained TxDOT spokeswoman Jodi Hodges.

She added that because the storm was so widespread, workers from other regions of the state weren't available to come and help right away.

Raider Express trucking, based in Fort Worth, said it had about 20 of its fleet stuck at different points across the state.

"It had a substantial impact," said company spokesman Mike Eggleton Sr.

He said he doesn't fault TxDOT for failing to anticipate more ice, but did say he wished the removal process would move more quickly.

"It would've been nice if they could clear it a little sooner," he said.

Other truckers who spoke to News 8 over the weekend were more frustrated.

"This is ridiculous that this happens out here," said one man who was stuck along Interstate 30 near Fort Worth on Sunday.

Some motorists compared the response to the ice storm to what happened in 2011, when a powerful winter storm swept through North Texas during the Super Bowl.

But Hodges said that was more of a snow event, and that no one expected three to four inches of ice during this storm.

"Predictions were for a half-inch to an inch of ice to be expected," she said.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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