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Spin Outs and Crashes Plague Christmas Travel

Updated: 12/25/2013 10:40 PM
Created: 12/25/2013 4:38 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Light snow made for a white Christmas across the Northland, but temperatures were still well below freezing making the winter wonderland a slippery nightmare on the roads.

Minnesota Department of Transportation officials warned drivers earlier this week that roads would likely remain slick all week after the Minnesota State Patrol responded to over 100 spin outs and crashes last Sunday.

Still, drivers in Duluth had a rough time traveling this Christmas.

Duluth Police said officers assisted the State Patrol with dozens of accidents within just two hours early Wednesday afternoon. A sergeant said Interstate 35 turned into an ice rink, and this stretch of crashes was the worst he has seen in 23 years of law enforcement.

Eyewitness News hit the road with a camera and quickly found nearly a dozen cars and trucks spun out and facing the wrong direction on the highway. Some of the accidents briefly stopped traffic on the interstate, but authorities also had to close a small portion of I-35 near the junction with Highway 53 in Duluth.

A handful of vehicles spun out and stopped along the southbound lanes, and police diverted traffic onto the 21st Avenue West ramp for over half an hour. That caused slow downs and a backup in the light Christmas traffic along I-35.

Plows kept the roadways clear, but MnDOT engineers said the frigid temperatures mean the roads will stay slick. If holiday travel is a must the engineers advise drivers to slow down and keep the slippery conditions in mind.

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WI AREAS AFFECTED: Ashland; Bayfield; Iron; Sawyer; Washburn
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