Texas Department of Transportation officials and law enforcement are highly discouraging travel on Interstate 20 as icy conditions and backed-up traffic continues throughout the highway.
A travel advisory from TxDOT Tyler District spokesperson Kathi White said icy I-20 is passable but presenting major issues for drivers. Crews are continuing to blade and treat the highway.
"For safety, motorists are urged to stay off I-20 and other roads due to the ongoing icy conditions," White said. "Below freezing temperatures continue to create unsafe conditions making travel treacherous and dire for driving."
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers are responding to crashes and slide offs both eastbound and westbound.
Eastbound traffic is at a crawl from Farm-to-Market Road 14 in Smith County to the Gregg County line. Westbound lanes through Gregg, Smith and Van Zandt are currently flowing, but traffic is being detoured to the ramps at Mile Marker 579 (Joy-Wright Mountain Road) due to a crash, and then back to I-20, White said.
For those near the Louisiana border, the Louisiana State Police closed I-20 eastbound into Louisiana due to icing on roadways and wrecks, the Harrison County Sheriff's Office said Friday. The traffic back-up is well in to Harrison County.
Deputies, DPS, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens will be assisting on the area roadways and answering calls for assistance with accidents, as well as checking on stranded motorists. The roadways will be very slushy and refreeze creating a very uneven surface. The ice will actually cause you to lose traction and control, the sheriff's office said.
"While this has been a true test of our area resources, our most valuable resource is our community. Please do not put yourself in harm’s way by getting on the roadways," Harrison County Sheriff BJ Fletcher said. "Be safe and stay inside where it is warm. Stay off of the ice on ponds. A young boy was saved, yesterday in Jefferson, after he walked out onto what he thought was a frozen pond. The ice gave way and he plunged into the water. Thankfully, he was rescued by another person who saw him and summoned aid”.