How can Texas highways be safer during winter weather? NTSB offers recommendations

The NTSB in its report on the deadly February 2021 pileup on Interstate 35W made three recommendations for Texas to make highways safer during winter weather.

The National Transportation Safety Board found that the probable cause of the crash was ice accumulation on the elevated part of the road that caused drivers to slide into other vehicles and road barriers. Contributing factors where ineffective monitoring for ice and speeding.

Six people were killed in the 133-vehicle pileup on an icy patch of southbound TEXPress lanes near Northside Drive in Fort Worth. The crash occurred around 6 a.m. on Feb. 11, 2021.

The private company North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners built the road and is responsible for treating it for ice.

NTSB outlined three recommendations for Texas.

Texas should develop a statewide plan to install environmental sensor stations at priority locations to allow for a timely response to hazardous roads during bad weather.

Texas should offer a “comprehensive winter weather training program” for toll road entities.

The Texas Legislature should pass legislation that allows TxDOT to install variable speed limit signs on roads. The signs can change the speed limit based on traffic congestion and dangerous weather, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

A spokesperson for North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners did not immediately return requests for comment.