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Interstate 20 reopened after miles-long backup left drivers stranded for hours

Traffic is stop-and-go along Interstate 20 after a series of wrecks had motorists stranded for...
Traffic is stop-and-go along Interstate 20 after a series of wrecks had motorists stranded for more than 10 hours through Smith County.(Texas Department of Transporation)
Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 8:12 AM CST
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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Traffic is stop-and-go along Interstate 20 after a series of wrecks had motorists stranded for more than 10 hours through Smith County.

Friday morning, a Texas Dept. of Transportation camera along Interstate 20 at U.S. Highway 271, northeast of Tyler, showed dozens of cars and 18-wheelers lined up for miles in the eastbound lanes.

Some drivers reported being stuck in this tie-up for several hours.

Texas DPS says the wintry weather is creating hazardous conditions for travel in this area.

”We continue to discourage unnecessary travel,” said Sgt. Jean Dark. “Troopers are currently working multiple crashes and slide offs along the IH-20 corridor.”

Around 1 a.m., DPS said eastbound lanes of I-20 at mile marker 575 had reopened and that traffic was moving slowly. Westbound lanes were still shut down due to vehicles that couldn’t make it up the hill due to icy conditions.

Troopers had to walk up and down the interstate to wake up drivers who had fallen asleep while waiting in their vehicles. Some truckers went back into their cabs to sleep, according to DPS.

One trooper reportedly walked 10 miles knocking on windows to wake up drivers.

Traffic was flowing at the U.S. 271 overpass around 5 a.m., but was stop-and-go with heavy congestion around 7:45 a.m.

RELATED:

+ Winter weather traffic conditions around East Texas

+ ‘We’re pretty much just sitting here:’ Man stranded on I-20 in East Texas

+ Chopper 7 flies over icy Interstate 20, other Smith County landmarks

+ Parts of I-20 continue to be shut down due to icy conditions

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