NPR gets truckers’ takes on being halted by ‘cobblestone ice’

Updated Dec 13, 2013
Photo from NPRPhoto from NPR

The winter storm that blasted Texas last weekend has apparently given rise to a new term for the mixture of ice and sand — and compression from traffic — that creates an almost rocky surface to drive on: “cobblestone ice.”

According to a report from Dallas’s NBCDFW, cobblestone ice is a thick layer of frozen ice on roads sculpted with frozen ruts and potholes. It also apparently is quite a rough ride for drivers navigating roads topped with it. 

In addition to the Dallas media heyday with the term, NPR ran a brief segment on cobblestone ice on its All Things Considered program earlier this week, devoting part of its segment to the difficulty the cobblestone ice has presented for truck drivers. 

Truckers interviewed by NPR reporter Stella Chavez all said their equipment gets hammered when driving over cobblestone ice, and all three were hunkered down at truck stops waiting for the roads to be cleared. 

15-year operator Jon Gandelman, interviewed in the segment, said he usually tries to “plow through” winter storms, and his runs through mountain passes in snow with chained tires are no problem. The icy conditions in Texas, though, have him grounded. 

Two other truckers interviewed also said their equipment gets dented or damaged in the cobblestone ice, and both of them — Eduardo Ruvalcaba and Franchester Smith — were waiting out the icy conditions at truck stops outside of Dallas. 

Reports out of Dallas earlier this week said crews were working to scrape the roads and clear them of the ice.

Click here to read or listen to the NPR segment.


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