MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – From crashes to spinouts, it was a long Friday morning for many people behind the wheel in the Twin Cities.
“I got home pretty late last night and saw that it was gonna be pretty bad, so woke up a little early and gave ourselves a little bit extra time,” said driver Ernie Heifort.
Despite pretreating bridges and roads Thursday in St. Paul, fender benders were inevitable thanks to the snowfall and icy conditions. St. Paul Police reported dozens of accidents Friday morning.
Minnesota State Patrol reported there were 115 crashes statewide, 85 alone in the metro. It’s not a surprise that traffic incidents happened, but officials say they were preventable.
“I think we need to hold everyone accountable, including the drivers,” said Lt. Gordon Shank, State Patrol public information officer. “We need to be able to police ourselves as well and drive in a manner that’s safe for ourselves and for the other public. People need to slow down. If the speed limit says 55 mph, that doesn’t mean drive 55 mph if the conditions are like they were last night into today. Also, increase your following distances.”
Many drivers said highway conditions improved much quicker as the morning turned to afternoon Friday. City streets remained tricky, which were not pretreated in Minneapolis.
“I believe it’s just the shock of winter is back and drivers need to relearn how to drive,” Lt. Shank said.
Although the weekend is approaching there will still be plenty of drivers on city streets in Minneapolis. That’s because Interstate 35W will be closed from downtown to Highway 62 Friday at 10 p.m.through Monday morning as MnDOT works to demolish the 28th Street Bridge.
The 26th Street Bridge has reopened, however, after being closed since June.