Ice makes morning commute tough

Despite icy roads that turned Wednesday’s morning commute into a nightmare, area police reported no serious accidents.

“We were fortunate,” said Allegheny Township Chief P. Richard Books said. “We had a couple of people who slid into snow banks and had to be pushed out.”

In Snyder Township, a PennDOT truck hauling salt and anti-skid overturned down an embankment along S. Eagle Valley Road at just after 8 a.m., closing that road for several hours. While the name of the driver has not been released, PennDOT District 9 spokesman Tara Callahan-Henry said he wasn’t injured.

The wreck left the truck with only minor damage, Callahan-Henry said, and it is expected to be back in service soon.

PennDOT had crews out Wednesday morning trying to keep up with freezing roads, a task Callahan-Henry said was challenging given how fast the roads froze Wednesday morning.

Accidents involving tractor-trailers in surrounding counties led to the closing of several major highways.

The biggest accident occured between the Clearfield and Kylertown exits of Interstate 80 that involved about 50 trucks.

Portions of Route 22 in Cambria County and Route 30 in Bedford County were also shut down Wednesday morning because of tractor-trailer accidents, according to PennDOT.

Route 30, which was was closed between the intersection of Main Street in West Providence Township and the Intersection of Lower Snake Spring Road in Snake Spring Township, reopened about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, and the eastbound lanes of Route 22, between the intersection of Chickaree Hill Road in Jackson Township to the Route 271 exit, reopened before noon as well.

“Most accidents were people sliding off the road and getting stuck,” said Trooper Jeff Petucci, spokesman for the state police Troop G in Hollidaysburg.

Petucci said state police didn’t encounter any major accidents due to the weather, echoing reports of other departments such as Logan Township.

While Wednesday’s warm temperatures reached nearly 50 degrees, forecasters with the National Weather Service expect overnight temperatures to drop below freezing overnight, so PennDOT is urging drivers to be careful as they start out for work today.

“Temperatures are up, snow is melting,” Callahan-Henry said. “People really need to use caution in the morning due to refreezing.”

NWS meteorologist John LaCourte said Wednesday’s freezing rain unfolded almost exactly as predicted and said Wednesday’s mild weather is expected to last for several days before temperatures turn colder early next week.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.