Storm causes icy road conditions

December 26, 2008 3:34:25 PM PST
The post-Christmas storm brought us some of the worst icy driving conditions in years. There were too many crashes to count. Every single expressway had them. On the Eisenhower, cars kept spinning out, one after another, and on the Dan Ryan ten cars were involved in a rollover accident.

One man was lucky. He was able to walk away from a rollover on I-80 near New Lenox.

"I was driving about 45 miles an hour and then black ice. I felt like I lost control of the vehicle and then it just started swerving," said Terrell Kennedy.

City streets were also a nightmare. Streets and sanitation put all its salt trucks into the effort of making things better for drivers, but it's a job that's taken all morning and most of the afternoon.

"The salt had great effect. We had good traction right before rush hour. But the side streets were covered with ice and extremely dangerous," said Mike Picardi, commissioner, Dept. of Streets and Sanitation.

Taking public transportation wasn't much better either. Frozen switches and electric lines all but stopped Red and Yellow Line service on the El at one point, while CTA buses experienced major delays.

"I'm going home. Just calling work and tell them I can't get there," said Robert Wareyko, delayed CTA rider.

And then there are the airports. Both O'Hare and Midway saw early morning cancellations and delays due to icy runways. At Midway, a southwest plane headed for Los Angeles was taxiing towards the runway when it skidded onto the grass, closing the runway down for a while. O'Hare saw fewer problems than on previous days this week, prompting some passengers to tell us their problem wasn't the flight. It was getting to the airport to begin with.

"We were trying to make our flight, which is at 7:50. This was nothing but pure ice from Merrillville, Indiana, up to here. We got here about 7:30 and there was just no way we could get to the airport in time to make it," said Richard Cast.

Now that the ice is no longer a major issue, the fog is. Some places are going to be seeing visibility of less than 1/4 of a mile. Rush hour drivers should exercise caution when heading out later in the evening.


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