ODOT officials believe sudden white-out conditions caused a massive pile-up, involving over two dozen vehicles on a notoriously hazardous stretch of Interstate 90 Friday afternoon.
The car crashes forced the highway to be shut down in both directions for several hours.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, right after 4:00 Friday afternoon, vehicles and semis struck into each other or slid off the roadway during an apparent burst of lake effect snow.
“We knew that there was a chance for snow this afternoon, so we had been staffed out in Lake County with our trucks, salting and plowing as needed…it appears that, as is well know for this corridor to do, some whiteout conditions are probably the cause of this crash,” said ODOT spokesperson Amanda McFarland.
The highway was closed in both directions for several hours between Vrooman Road and Route 44.
Hundreds of frustrated drivers were stuck in the backup. Others got off the highway, reacting to alerts from their GPS.
“There was a 43-minute delay, so were just trying to take a slow ride. It’s pretty, slippery it seems like it’s all ice,” said a woman riding in a car from Sandusky to Buffalo, New York.
“We’re gonna go back and we’re gonna have to go through it to the accident, I guess,” said the driver.
After crews cleared away damaged automobiles and salted the highway, the eastbound lanes resumed first, and by 7:30 p.m., the westbound traffic was moving, slowly, as well.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said no serious injuries took place.