Officials said no changes in the roadway or alternate routes were planned after a 10-hour traffic delay Thursday on one of the busiest North Texas interchanges.
The US 75 and Interstate 635 were both closed after a 4:30am accident in the Dallas High Five interchange.
A tanker truck operated by Transwood Incorporated of Omaha, Nebraska lost control and tipped on the overpass from Southbound 75 to Eastbound I-635 LBJ Freeway.
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Dallas Fire Rescue said the truck carried a flammable resin, commonly used in the production of plastics. The Dallas Police Department ordered all levels of the roadway closed for safety as the material was moved to a second truck and the first truck was towed away.
No one was injured but alternate routes became massive gridlock for miles around and drivers were steamed.
Creeana Daniel said her car overheated in a 3-hour delay getting off the highway.
“If they’re going to shut down the whole freeway, there should be some other option different from this,” she said. “There should be an emergency plan for this kind of thing.”
There was a plan when the High Five opened in 2005 to avoid the icy conditions that typically make high overpasses unusable.
North Dallas City Council Member Sandy Greyson was involved in transportation planning long before the High Five was built.
“We had it designed so that we would have frontage roads in every direction, which was not the standard before the high five, so people could get through on the ground level,” Greyson said.
But this situation also left the frontage roads unavailable.
“They shut it all down for safety reasons. We didn’t know what was going to happen with that truck, so DPD shut down the road for safety,” said Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson Donna Simmons. “You can’t plan for that anywhere.”
Simmons said the roadway has operated properly since it opened and the Dallas Police Department will investigate what made this truck lose control.
“The road meets all safety standards,” Simmons said.
Council Member Greyson said she uses that roadway too and hates getting stuck in traffic.
“I don’t know if it was even envisioned that this sort of thing could happen but it has happened and you just deal with it the best you can,” Greyson said.
All main lanes and the ground level frontage roads were open for the evening rush hour Thursday.
Records show Transwood has 447 trucks and 445 drivers. The company underwent 974 inspections the past two years and reported 38 accidents, none of them fatal. It has a satisfactory rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.