Ice causes rush hour nightmare

February 13, 2008 4:28:41 AM PST
Conditions have improved after ice caused dozens of accidents and closed part of I-95. Emergency personnel struggled to get through the gridlock in South Philadelphia. The area was paralyzed by treacherous road conditions brought on by an onslaught of sleet and ice.

The chain reaction of events began on I-95 southbound approaching the Girard Point Bridge. Just before 5:00 pm, icy conditions proved tricky, if not downright dangerous. As many as a dozen cars and trucks piled into one another, shutting down all southbound lanes. Within minutes, traffic backed up for miles.

Some motorists decided to try to escape across the Passyunk Avenue Bridge, but the bridge was closed in both directions due to multi-vehicle accidents.

Motorists on the northbound and southbound express lanes of the Roosevelt Boulevard did not escape the misery. A light pole fell on top of a car near Cottman Avenue causing a multi-vehicle accident.

In New Jersey, at a time when thousands of cars usually travel the Admiral Wilson Boulevard, the road was shut down to traffic for hours because of ice. Cars were detoured and the back-ups, drivers said, were awful.

People needed patience to not only get around road blocks, but also to get around accidents all throughout the area.

On I-295 in Mount Ephraim, one car's tires spun out. Fortunately, the driver, who was not hurt, was able to stop the car before slamming into the trees.

Down the road in Bellmawr, emergency vehicles rushed to another scene where a school bus skidded off I-295. Police were amazed the bus did not flip over. No students were on the bus at the time and the driver was not hurt.

Jim Thompson, driving from Camden to his home in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, made frequent stops to scrape his windshield. He said he was grateful to see PennDOT crews salting the highways.

In the Lehigh Valley, roads were snow-covered and slick. An eighteen wheeler struggled to conquer a hill on Macarthur Road. Hills and exit ramps created the most problems here.

As the night went on, the snow let up. Even though the forecast called for an icy morning commute, some people were optimistic.