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Published: Friday, 12/26/2008

Major area expressways reopen following icy morning travel

BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Traffic in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan came to a near standstill when sheets of ice covered area roads Friday morning.

"It s sheer ice from Toledo to Bowling Green," said Brian Gettinger, a dispatcher at the Ohio Highway Patrol s Toledo post.

Maumee Police cruisers block east-bound U.S. 24 (Anthony Wayne Trail) at Key St. in Maumee on Friday, while a salt truck approaches to make a u-turn to head East. Maumee Police cruisers block east-bound U.S. 24 (Anthony Wayne Trail) at Key St. in Maumee on Friday, while a salt truck approaches to make a u-turn to head East.
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In northwest Ohio, ODOT crews have been salting the roads since Thursday night, with additional crews joining them Friday morning, ODOT spokesman Theresa Pollick said.

"Ice is absolutely the worst case scenario that our crews have to deal with. Because it doesn t take a lot to cause major problems," Ms. Pollick said.

"In this case, ice spread very quickly and it was difficult for us to keep up with the weather," she said.

About 12 accidents, most of which occurred between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., tied up traffic on ice-covered I-75 between Toledo and Bowling Green. None of the accidents caused serious injury, Mr. Gettinger said.

In Toledo, authorities in the morning closed I-75 northbound and southbound from Alexis Road to South Avenue because of multiple-vehicle accidents, slowed traffic, and icy conditions. I-75 was re-opened in the early afternoon.

A slew of accidents were reported on the ice-slick interstate, including a 10-car pileup about 8:40 a.m. on northbound I-75 at the Collingwood Avenue entrance ramp. That accident injured one Toledo police officer, who was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo for treatment.

Drivers negotiating an ice-covered south-bound U.S. 23 at the Sylvania, Ave. overpass in Sylvania on Friday morning, Dec. 26, 2008 Drivers negotiating an ice-covered south-bound U.S. 23 at the Sylvania, Ave. overpass in Sylvania on Friday morning, Dec. 26, 2008
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Seven vehicles collided early Friday on an I-75 expressway overpass in West Toledo, authorities said.

A chain-reaction crash occurred about 8:25 a.m. at Phillips Avenue.

Toledo police summoned city crews to use salt in order to make the road less slippery.

David Welch, Toledo s streets division s commissioner, said the city had most of its salt trucks working the streets by about noon Friday.

"With surface temperature in the mid-20s, any rain that hits the roads, turns to ice. That s why we have most of our crews out," Mr. Welch said.

In Maumee, police shut down northbound Anthony Wayne Trail at Key Street about 10:30 a.m., because of a non-life-threatening injury crash. The route also was re-opened in the early afternoon Friday.

The Ohio Highway Patrol reported several cases of vehicles sliding off the Ohio Turnpike between Toledo and Fremont between about 8:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. None of those accidents involved serious injuries, said troopers at the patrol s Berea post.

U.S. 23, which stretches through Ohio and Michigan, also was covered with ice. At least three accidents tied up traffic on the expressway north of Toledo Friday morning, before 10:45 a.m. None of them involved serious injury, according to the Michigan State Police.

Parts of Indiana Toll Road were also closed for icy conditions Friday morning.

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com, or 419-724-6074.



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