After 23 accidents Thanksgiving night, city says ice came sooner than expected

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The City of Lincoln planned to spread salt and brine over Lincoln streets when the clock struck midnight Friday morning.

That plan was thrown out the window when cars started piling up on Lincoln bridges.

Between 6:00 p.m. and midnight there were 23 car accidents and five bridges were shut down.

City crews started three hours ahead of schedule, deploying 20 trucks at 9:00 p.m.

But it wasn't soon enough- there were crashes at Salt Creek Roadway and North Antelope Valley Parkway, the 27th street viaduct, the West A bridge and Rosa Parks Way, all before 9:00 p.m.

10/11 NOW asked Tim Byrne, the maintenance operations manager for Lincoln Transportation why trucks weren't out earlier.

Byrne said the ice just came sooner than expected.

"We were anticipating it to occur after midnight based on the surface temperatures and once we became aware bridges were icing up on us we immediately deployed resources," Byrne said.

Byrne said city officials have forecasting software and get out on the roads themselves to help evaluate the road conditions.

They also recently started using pavement temperature sensors.

There are six across the city, and Byrne said the data they were providing also predicted roads wouldn't freeze until later.

However, there are no sensors on bridges.

10/11 NOW asked Byrne if he'd have crews do anything different if they could go back in time.

"Our main objective is to always provide the safest traveling conditions we could have," Byrne said. "We had a plan last night based on the best information we had and once we became aware that actual conditions were different than we we're planning for, we deployed trucks immediately."