Weather Updates

Abandoned vehicles slow Lake Shore Dr. reopening

Updated: July 25, 2012 2:50PM

Abandoned vehicles have slowed the city’s efforts to reopen Lake Shore Drive, which was closed Tuesday night because of poor driving conditions and numerous accidents.

Lake Shore Drive remains closed in both directions Tuesday night because of poor traffic conditions, multiple accidents and stranded cars and buses, according to a release from the City of Chicago.

CTA spokeswoman Shelia Gregory said a Fullerton Avenue bus was stuck on Lake Shore Drive because of a separate car accident and crews were unable to get to it. The bus was then converted to a warming bus for other riders stuck in their cars.

Paramedics are working their way southbound to provide medical assistance to those in need, the release said.

The city is asking all motorists to stay in their cars because abandoning their vehicles slows the cleanup process.

Lake Shore Drive will remain closed until the city’s Department of Streets & Sanitation can clear vehicles and plow and salt the road, the release said.

On the Northwest Side, West Higgins Road is closed west of Patton Drive.

The city has been notified of 55 street lights outs, 43 malfunctioning traffic signals and 16 downed wires, the release said.

Section of I-80 to be closed, road is ‘impassable’

JOLIET -- State Police are reporting that I-80 will soon be closed, from Morris west to Ottawa, because of “impassable” blizzard conditions.

The interstate will be closed as soon as the Illinois Dept. of Transportation can get the barricades up, said Joliet District State Police Sgt. Chris Paluch, and the road will remain closed all night.

“It’s terrible,” Paluch said. “There are too many crashes and too many vehicles in ditches. You can’t even get to the cars anymore.”

Travel times have improved on area interstates and highways, but the roads and many ramps remain covered in snow and ice, the release said.

Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur is recommending drivers stay home and don’t utilize the tollways Wednesday morning to get to work.

Motorists rescued from far south suburban roads, vehicles remain

State police in the far south suburbs are warning motorists to stay off an “impassable” I-57 and area highways, which have forced dozens of motorists -- and even and IDOT plow -- to abandon their vehicles.

Interstate 57 near far south Kankakee -- blanketed by four-foot drifts in some areas -- is not passable as of about 1 a.m. Wednesday, Illinois State Police District 21 Sgt. Angie Kinstner said.

Although State Police have not officially closed the interstate, “nobody should be on it,” Kinstner urged.

Emergency officials are in the process of checking on motorists already stranded on the roadways and taking them to safety at local hotels or warming centers set up in Iroquois and Kankakee counties, she said. A recent sweep found nine stranded vehicles on a 10-mile stretch of I-57 located about thirty miles south of Kankakee.

Area highways are feeling the storm’s full force as well. Illinois Route 50 between far southwest suburban Peotone and Manteno is “totally impassable,” Kinstner said.

A trained spotter for the National Weather Service reported about 11 p.m. that drifts between two and four and a half feet high trapped 25 motorists, including an IDOT plow, according to the NWS website. A front-end loader was brought in to rescue those stranded, the spotter reported.

As of about 1:30 a.m., all motorists trapped on Route 50 have been checked on and taken to safety, but their vehicles could not be towed and remain on the road, Kinstner said.

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