Cold Temperatures, Wet Conditions Create Icy Roadways
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Wet conditions and dropping temperatures caused some big problems on local roadways Saturday evening.
State Police were forced to shut down the northbound lanes of Interstate 79 near the Crafton exit around 6 p.m. after several crashes. It was described as a sheet of ice.
The road in that area has since reopened.
Nearby on I-79 in Robinson Township, officials say a driver was trying to exit the northbound lanes when his vehicle rolled over.
State Police say they believe both the weather and speed were factors in the crash. The driver was not seriously hurt.
Bridges were especially dangerous. Some had to be shut down for a time including the 9th Street and 62nd Street bridges in Pittsburgh, as well as the Panther Hollow and Rankin bridges.
There was also at least one fatal accident. A woman was killed in a single-car crash near Slippery Rock; however, it’s unclear if the crash was weather-related.
There were also reports of crashes on the McKees Rocks and Birmingham bridges.
Accidents were also reported near the I-79 Collier Township/Scott Township exit, as well as at Route 2230 near the Parkway West. There were no serious injuries.
Also 16 vehicles were involved in an accident along Bigelow Boulevard. It took crews until well into Saturday night to clear the scene.
“There was a pickup truck in front of me that started sliding. I started pumping my brakes and it was just a sheet of ice. Lost control of the car. Couldn’t do anything and then it was just a chain reaction,” Sumit Gupta said.
Even those who saw it coming couldn’t do much about it.
“Saw cars starting to spin out and we were probably about a quarter-mile back and I hit the brakes and just kept right on going. It was black ice,” Sarah McKean said.
No one was hurt seriously, but several people needed to stand out in the cold for nearly three hours.
Tow truck drivers would not tow anyone until police arrived, but they were busy with other calls.
PennDOT trucks were out and about during the evening salting the roadways, but drivers were warned to take it extra slow especially on bridges, overpasses and ramps.