Black ice lingers, creates dangerous roads in region

2014-01-29T18:16:00Z 2014-08-25T11:32:12Z Black ice lingers, creates dangerous roads in regionLauri Harvey Keagle lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311 nwitimes.com

Air temperatures and wind chills were still below zero Wednesday morning, causing black ice and multiple crashes in Hammond and near the Illinois State Line.

Highland police closed Indianapolis Boulevard closed north of the Highland/Hammond border about 9 a.m. because of the accidents. Matt Deitchley, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said the state did not close the state road.

Highland police Cmdr. George Georgeff said Highland officers diverted traffic at the Hammond/Highland border on Indianapolis Boulevard while the accidents were at their peak.

The road reopened about 11 a.m., he said.

Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said police responded to 23 separate crashes Wednesday morning. No serious injuries were reported.

Miller said for many, Wednesday was the first day back on the roads for drivers since the cold snap hit Sunday, with many schools and businesses reopening after a two-day closure.

"People are driving too fast and following too closely," Miller said.

Deitchley said INDOT crews were on Indianapolis Boulevard on Wednesday morning treating the road as of 9:30 a.m.

The conditions were much the same on the western end of the Borman Expressway during the morning rush. State police urged drivers to increase following distance and reduce speeds as well.

State police responded at 6 a.m. to a five-vehicle accident with lane blockage in the westbound lanes of Interstate 80/94 near the Illinois state line. No one was injured in the accident.

All lanes reopened just before 8 a.m.

Other crashes soon followed on the eastbound Borman at Cline Avenue and the westbound Borman near Indianapolis Boulevard.

Indiana State Police responded to a hit-and-run, rear-end crash on the westbound Borman Expressway near Calumet Avenue where a semi rear-ended a Honda and drove off. The driver was not injured and her vehicle was drivable, police said.

State police said crashes on the Borman subsided by 9 a.m. as the morning rush neared its end.

One serious accident was reported on I-94 about 9 p.m. Tuesday. Details on that crash are expected from Indiana State Police later this morning.

Wind chill advisories initially set to continue through 9 a.m. Wednesday were canceled overnight, but temperatures remained dangerously cold Wednesday morning.

LaPorte County's wind chill warning expired at 11 a.m.

Snow is expected Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is expected to begin falling Thursday afternoon and leave anywhere from 1 to 2 inches of accumulation behind. More snow is expected Friday into Saturday morning that could bring an additional 2 to 4 inches, forecasters said.

INDOT said Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties remained under a travel watch Wednesday morning. Under a travel watch, only essential travel to and from work and in emergencies is encouraged.

"Crews that aren't working to clear that ice and snow are working to patch potholes," the INDOT Northwest District Facebook page said. "We're still trying to get to all potholes from the major storm two weeks ago, and this storm is bound to open up a lot more."

Police and INDOT continued to encourage drivers to reduce speeds, increase following distance and be prepared with a full tank of gas, fully charged cellphone and a cellphone charger as well as water, food and blankets.

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