FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: January 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm •  Published: January 29, 2010

As western Oklahoma starts to dry out and southeast Oklahoma gets ready for a first round of freezing precipitation, roads and highways across the state are slick and hazardous, and transportation officials are discouraging travel.

Panhandle highways — including Interstate 40 — are now open. They were previously closed at the request of Texas and Colorado officials, according to the state transportation department.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports northbound lanes of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike at mile marker 83 are now open. They were closed about 4:55 p.m. due to a jack-knifed tractor-trailer.

The H.E. Bailey Turnpike also remains closed from mile markers 83 to 53, including the exit ramp at 83 for Chickasha, due to downed power lines in the area, the patrol said.

State Highway 5 south of Gould remains closed due to downed powerlines. In some southwestern counties, plowing operations have been hindered because of low-hanging power lines, according to the state Transportation Department.

State Highway 7, west of U.S. 81 and the Duncan Bypass are slick.

In Tulsa, Interstate 44 was closed at 193rd due to a collision, but reopened at about 6 p.m.

Roads remain slick and hazardous in western, southwestern, central and northeastern regions of the state, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol continues to discourage travel. Only Bryan, Choctaw and McCurtain counties were not reporting icy roads at 9 p.m.

Oklahoma City street crews are working around the clock with 22 trucks. Two of the city's trucks broke down overnight and are being repaired, streets superintendent Mike DeGiacamo said.

DeGiacomo said the city also is running low on salt and will be mixing sand with salt to compensate. He said crews will be working non-stop through the weekend.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews are also trying to clear roadways, but drivers are urged to stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment.

Terri Angier, spokeswoman for the Transportation Department, said crews made some headway before the latest round of heavy snow began falling.



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