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INDOT Warns Against Driving Around Barricades

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January 6, 2013 by Jerry Howard

The Indiana Department of Transportation says all of the counties in its Northwest (Indiana) District have red travel warnings in effect today.

INDOT issued a severe winter weather update saying, “conditions remain extremely hazardous on all interstates, U.S. highways, and state routes in the INDOT Northwest District.  In addition, all counties in our District have declared red travel warnings, advising roads are closed to all but emergency personnel. Heavy snow, blowing and drifting snow, and sub zero temperatures should be expected on all roadways. This is a dangerous situation and all are advised to stay home until roadways can be safely cleared.”

INDOT Northwest Region Communications Director Matt Deitchley says, “Unfortunately, not everyone is heeding the warning. Drivers have been caught going around barricades on closed interstates, like I-94 and I-65.  This is extremely dangerous.  They are endangering themselves and the emergency personnel tasked with rescuing these potentially stranded drivers.  Dozens of people have already been rescued from impassable roadways during the past 24 hours.”

He says many businesses are closed throughout Northwest Indiana due to the severe weather, so stranded drivers night not have a location for shelter.

INDOT has made the following road closures, including two interstate highways in the Region:

-I-94, both eastbound and westbound, between the Illinois state line and the U.S. 421 exit (Michigan City)

-I-65, both northbound and southbound, between U.S. 12/20 (Gary) and mile marker 172 (Lafayette)

-State Road 16, between Monon and Royal Center

-State Road 18, between State Road 29 and U.S. 31

-State Road 218, between State Road 25 and State Road 29

-State Rood 43, south of Chalmers

INDOT says, “Many other roads are impassable and closed to all traffic, but a complete list is not available due to the massive scale of this severe winter storm and INDOT crews working to clear the way in extreme conditions.”

It says its crews are facing roads drifting shut soon after they are cleared by plows, due to blowing and drifting snow, INDOT plows getting stuck on impassable roads, and abandoned vehicles stuck in snow on roadways that make snowplowing nearly impossible.  INDOT says the snow accumulation and drifting is so heavy that many roads require heavy duty front-end loaders to clear snow, slowing the road clearing process,  emphasizing that, “This is a dangerous situation and all are advised to stay home until roadways can be safely cleared.”

It invites drivers in Northwest Indiana to monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts at any time via the District’s social media channels: www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest or Twitter @INDOTNorthwest. Or visit http://www.trafficwise.in.gov for INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service.

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