AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Interstate 35 upper deck shut down because of icy conditions for about an hour Thursday afternoon, as emergency responders urge people to stay off the roads. The Texas Department of Transportation warns that Friday morning conditions will also be hazardous.
“We are not in the clear,” TxDOT tweeted Friday around 9 a.m. “Temps are still well below freezing, roadways are still hazardous and crews continue to treat them.”
It was an icy night for first responders. Austin-Travis County EMS crews responded to a multi-vehicle crash in the 6100 block of north I-35 heading southbound just before 9 p.m. Thursday evening. That is near the intersection of east Hwy. 290 in northeast Austin.
Medics on scene reported 14 vehicles were involved in the crash. One adult patient was treated for minor injuries on scene and refused transport; no other injuries were reported.
TxDOT officials said all southbound I-35 lanes near east Hwy. 290 were closed immediately following that crash, but an update from crews at 10 p.m. Thursday confirmed all southbound lanes had reopened.
Earlier in the evening, crews rescued a person from a vehicle stuck at a low water crossing between the 9700-10900 block of Bitting School Road in eastern Travis County. No injuries were reported on scene.
Traffic is stalled on southbound I-35 Thursday evening near the Stassney Lane exit, TxDOT officials tweeted just before 7 p.m. An 18-wheeler is currently blocking all lanes and the exit ramp. Crews are in the process of clearing the roadway.
Multiple units responded to the scene of Bullick Hollow Road at north FM 620 Road for a report of a crash involving a sand dump truck and multiple vehicles. ATCEMS officials said the crash involved six vehicles, but no one was taken to the hospital. The area of Bullick Hollow will remain closed due to icy conditions on the hill.
Around 3:45 p.m. Thursday, TxDOT tweeted about a crash closing all lanes on northbound I-35 at SE Inner Loop.
The Georgetown Police Department is also asking people to avoid Interstate 35 northbound and southbound as officers work to clear multiple crashes that are blocking lanes.
“All bridges still have ice so please stay home and off the roads. The roads are not safe to drive on,” the police department tweeted.
As of around 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the Austin Fire Department told KXAN it’s only responded to around a dozen crashes as a result of the winter storm that rolled through Central Texas overnight Wednesday into Thursday, a result of people heeding warnings and staying home.
“Our call volume seems to be about normal right now,” Cpt. Darren Noak with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (ATCEMS) said around 8 a.m. Thursday.
ATCEMS said it responded to someone on the roof of their car early Thursday morning after their car got stuck in a low water crossing. The Manor Fire Department had to rescue that person, it said. One first responder was being treated for possible hypothermia after that rescue.
“Don’t drive around barricades if there are barricades, and certainly don’t drive into water on the roadways,” Noak said.
The Austin Fire Department said it expects roads could get worse during the day Thursday and asked people to continue to stay off of the roads.
“It could be harder for us to get to people,” Eddie Martinez, a division chief with AFD, said. “If you get stuck and you’re not prepared you could get stuck on the roadway for an extended period of time.”