CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Illinois Department of Transportation appears have been caught short Wednesday morning by the icy road conditions.
IDOT spokeswoman Gianna Urgo said that, around 4 a.m., IDOT’s traffic patrol started noticing problems as a light mist fell and froze on contact with the pavement, especially south and southwest. She said IDOT had not expected the misty conditions, nor its reaction when it hit the pavement.
“We were able to dispatch a full group out on the roadways in District 1, a little over 300 trucks a little before rush hour, but the problem was there were already some crashes and spinouts already on the road and our trucks were stuck behind that,” Urgo said.
Urgo said that meant salt trucks could only spread salt at the speed traffic was going, which was very slowly. In the meantime, vehicles continued getting into crashes and sliding into ditches.
State police said there were well over 100 crashes in the Chicago area, including at least three fatal crashes.
Urgo said slight variations in temperatures and conditions can make all the difference and can mean the difference between wet roads and roads that are sheets of ice.
Even with better road conditions now, Urgo said motorists should drive cautiously.