A 30-mile stretch of an Illinois highway remains closed Friday after more than 100 vehicles were involved in multiple crashes as a winter storm dumped snow across the Midwest.
Interstate 39 is closed in both directions with no access in central Illinois between Normal and Minonk and is not expected to reopen until noon Friday, Illinois Department of Transportation noted.
Illinois State Police responded to a “property damage accident” involving 19 commercial vehicles and nine passenger vehicles south of El Paso, Illinois on Thursday afternoon. A dozen tow trucks were on site to clean the roads, police said.
“We are asking everyone to avoid the area,” police spokeswoman Haylie Polistina said in a video shared by police. “Please don’t travel unless it’s an emergency.”
No injuries were reported and all motorists were taken to warming centers approximately three hours after the crash.
“Many other vehicles slid off the roadway or got stuck in traffic congestion,” Polistina told USA TODAY.
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Eastbound I-74 near Champaign, about 40 miles west of the state line with Indiana, was completely blocked for some time after an accident involving multiple tractor-trailers and the Interstate 55 has reopened after a semi-crash closed lanes in both directions, police said. More than 500 flights have also been canceled at two of Chicago’s airports.
At least 4 inches of snow and 40 mph wind gusts created whiteout conditions in Illinois, the National Weather Service said. More than 13 million people from Oklahoma to Maine were under a winter storm warning Thursday.
“Many accidents and whiteout conditions make travel extremely dangerous, if not impossible,” said Master Sergeant. Matt McCormick told The Associated Press.
Contributor: The Associated Press
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