The rain-slick roads on Tuesday contributed to several major accidents in Bell County, including one fatality in Troy that killed a Killeen man, authorities said.
About an hour before the Troy accident, two 18-wheelers collided on southbound Interstate 35 in Salado near mile marker 285, closing both the northbound and southbound lanes, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
The southbound lanes reopened at about 11 a.m., Salado Fire Chief Shane Berrier said.
The accident happened at about 2:30 a.m. when the 18-wheelers collided and hit the concrete barrier. One trailer partially straddled the barrier, shoving it into the northbound lanes. The back and sides of the trailer ripped open, causing boxes filled with plastic containers of mayonnaise and mustard to spill onto the roadway. However, none of the containers opened, Berrier said.
Debris from the accident was launched up onto a bridge above.
It took tow trucks with cranes to lift and remove the heavily-damaged trucks from the road and extra time for the barriers to be repaired, the fire chief said.
Traffic was diverted to the northbound and southbound frontage roads until about 11 a.m. when the accident cleared.
Adding to the early morning accidents, Berrier said, was another semi tractor-trailer that jackknifed on northbound I-35 near the Midway Drive exit.
Another roadway was also blocked when an 18-wheeler jackknifed on State Highway 95 between Bartlett and Holland near Round Hall Road at about 4:29 a.m., Bartlett Fire Chief Steven Wentrcek said. The road was blocked for several hours.
Berrier said the accidents were related to vehicles being driven too fast on the wet roads.
The National Weather Service website showed that the Temple area received about 1.2 inches of rain from the storms that came through early Tuesday morning.
Roads were slick from the storms that started moving into the area from the west just after midnight, Matt Bishop, meteorologist, said.
The wind also could have been a factor Tuesday on area roads by playing havoc with high-profile vehicles like 18-wheelers and vans, Bishop said. The high winds started moving into the area at about 11 a.m. and ranged from 20 to 28 mph with gusts up to 41 mph at times.