SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Texas Department of Transportation said Interstate 20 was closed in both directions earlier Sunday morning.
From US 69 to FM 14, multiple vehicles were left stranded including several 18-wheelers.
Multiple 18-wheeler rollovers are blocking lanes on I20 near the 557 and 559 mile markers in Smith County.
Motorists are urged to avoid the area. DPS Troopers and other emergency personnel are working the scene.
Officials on scene said there were a total of seven trucks involved.
Texas Department of Transportation crews will continue to treat and retreat the roadways, but TxDOT said conditions are hazardous for travel.
“Remember bridges and elevated structures are the first to freeze over but patches of ice also develop along other areas of roadways,” TxDOT said.
DPS said trucks are not able to make the hilly areas of I-20 between Smith and Van Zandt counties and wants motorists to avoid the area.
TxDOT is discouraging travel around the 8 county Tyler District as all roads are expected to freeze during this winter event. Staying home is the safety option but if you must drive, slow down and use extreme caution.
“It is bitter cold out and getting stranded isn’t going to be fun, so make sure your vehicle is ready,” said Kathi White, TxDOT Public Information Officer.
She also mentioned how TxDOT is working on the roads.
“Our crews are continuously retreating roads just trying to keep them passable where possible. But mother nature is a big factor and ice (is) going to be pretty much on every road,” said White.
DPS reminds drivers of essential winter driving tips:
- If you must drive, check weather forecasts before departing and visit www.DriveTexas.org or call 800-452-9292 to check highway conditions.
- Ensure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.
- Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Use caution when driving on icy or slick roads. Reduce your speed! Remember, bridges and overpasses are the first to freeze.
- If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you feel you have regained traction, then straighten your vehicle.
- If stranded, call 911 to alert emergency services. Remain in your vehicle.
This story is developing. KETK will keep you updated as more information comes out.
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