MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From side streets to major highways, it was slow going throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota no matter where you were headed on Friday.
“The road conditions are very treacherous,” Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Col. Matt Langer said. “It’s very dangerous to be out today.”
Many drivers struggled even getting onto the roads as they had to dig their cars out of the snow that fell overnight. The Minnesota Department of Transportation had 200 crews out trying to take care of snow drifts and slippery highways.
“A lot of spots in the metro systems have significant icing and we’re working on it real hard right now,” MnDOT spokesperson Kevin Gutknecht said. “We’ve got crews out. They’re putting down sand and salt to help with the traction to melt the ice.”
The ice caused many semi-trucks to spin out of control. Westbound Interstate 394 was shut down near downtown Minneapolis during rush hour after two semis stalled, blocking both lanes. It took nearly four hours to clear.
“We’ve gotten reports from troopers, especially in southeast Minnesota, that it’s as bad as they’ve seen it in 25 years, and it’s certainly as bad as we’ve seen it in many, many years in the metropolitan area,” Langer said.
MnDOT plans to keep all crews out around the clock to try to clear the roads. Until then a “no travel” advisory is in place for most of the state.
“Minnesotans are hardy and we like to get where we want to go, and we don’t like to weather to hold us up,” Langer said. “But if you do go out today, it’s very dangerous and we just ask people to think twice.”
The State Patrol says since 2 p.m. Thursday, there have been 685 reported crashes, including one fatal accident. Sixty-four crashes involved injuries, two of which were serious.
There have also been 66 reports of jackknifed semis.