SALADO — Two accidents on Interstate 35, one late Tuesday night and another early Wednesday morning, kept the Salado Volunteer Fire Department busy until almost 4 a.m.
One vehicle ran off Interstate 35 at about 11 p.m. Tuesday near mile marker 278 and hit a light pole, Fire Chief Shane Berrier said.
The firefighters had just cleared from that accident when they were called out at about 12:10 a.m. Wednesday to southbound mile marker 284. An 18-wheeler jackknifed and hit the concrete barriers, moving about six sections of the barriers into the northbound lanes, Berrier said.
“The main factor in Salado’s accidents on I-35 is there is no room in between the concrete walls for error. If an 18-wheeler moves six inches, it’s into the wall. They (the semis) have to be paying attention and slow down but, unfortunately, they’re not paying attention,” Berrier said.
Some of the walls are 12 inches from the painted white line and some are six inches from that line, Berrier said.
“Still, if you’re staying in your lane, there shouldn’t be problems,” he added.
No certain distance is required for the barrier to be placed with regard to the white lines, Jodi Wheatley, a Texas Department of Transportation media spokeswoman, said Wednesday.
We try to give as much room as possible, but it depends on the conditions in the work zone. The distance varies at different points in the Salado project area,” Wheatley said.
The inside barriers were knocked slightly out of alignment, but didn’t block the northbound lanes, Wheatley said. The barriers were put back in place before the southbound lanes were reopened. The outside barriers were hit harder and some pins connecting them to the pavement were cracked. Those barriers will be placed as soon as it can be done, but the barriers are still there, she said.
Berrier spends time watching the I-35 traffic flow and sees 18-wheelers passing each other, side-by-side, he said.
“There is no reason for that. Why can’t they wait? Once they get to mile marker 282, I-35 opens up to three lanes and they can do whatever they want,” Berrier said.
The Salado VFD is still doing without the services of its big rescue truck that burned up March 30 while responding to an accident call. However, Berrier hopes to have good news in the near future about a replacement truck.