Local

Icy roads hamper Ind. travel

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Indiana's full complement of salt trucks was still out on the roadways Thursday evening trying to catch up after the morning's horrendous rush hour.

Northbound traffic Thursday morning on Interstate 80/94 looked more like a crawl hour. Pavement turned into sheets of ice--and it wasn't limited to one expressway; part of Interstate 65 turned into a parking lot.

As far as the eye could see, semis and passenger cars were all trapped in a miles-long parking lot, even though INDOT were sent trucks out Wednesday night. Lake-effect snow and then the drop in temperatures combined to create a giant mess.

"It snowed about 5 inches. We were out there getting the roads wet. The temperatures suddenly dropped from 35 degrees to 10 degrees. When that happened there were 40 mph gusts of wind," said Joshua Bingham, INDOT.

As rush hour began, cars were soon slipping and sliding, causing accidents. Big rigs couldn't maneuver on ice and especially couldn't make it up any road inclines. Even state road vehicles were seen struggling.

Commuters realized quickly that it would be an impossible morning.

"It's very bad, I not recommend it to nobody," said Ramiro Ceron.

"Roads are slippery, real slippery...it's a mess out here," said John Kelly.

Of course, the jam-up made it harder for state vehicles to spread salt or sand.

"I know a lot of people had spinouts, especially on 65, a lot of snow, a lot of ice," said Rene Vera.

Tow trucks that could maneuver couldn't keep up with the number of vehicles involved in accidents. The gridlock led some truckers, lucky enough to be near a stop, to pull off the road and wait.

"I'm parking my truck here. There's no way I can start driving. I'm just waiting for them to clear the roads," said Steve Antovski, trucker.

"Waiting for the snow through this evening until 9 p.m. We expect snow to still happen. With lake effect snow, it's hard to judge how it's going to happen," said Bingham.

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