Vehicles inched along I-80/94 Wednesday afternoon. It is slow going, but it's still a massive improvement over what amounted to a parking lot on the expressway Tuesday. With snow falling at the rate of about three inches an hour, there was no way for plow trucks to clear the roadway. And there was almost zero visibility.
I-80/94 is a popular route for trucks heading across country through Indiana. And it frequently backs up, but the conditions over the past two days have been extraordinary according to the transportation department.
"More than two feet in a specific, focused area over eight hours, and white-out conditions the entire time – and all during the busiest travel time of the day. After that, we had sub-zero temperatures and it's just a recipe for disaster," said Matt Deitschley, Indiana Department of Transportation.
That recipe was snow and ice packed into the pavement, cemented by arctic cold. Eventually, state police managed to close all lanes on the highway so trucks could run five abreast across the road, first with de-icing solution and then with plows. Even though light snow is falling Wednesday afternoon, police say traffic is moving much better.
"Even our troopers were saying that it was just white-out conditions. They couldn't tell where it the road, or the ramps, or if it was traffic. It was just complete white out at times. (It's a lot better today though.) It's a lot better today," said Ann Wojas, Indiana State Police.
On Wednesday, the stretch of I-80/94 from the state line to I-64 is the worst in the entire system. Once you get a little bit further east, traffic improves.