1 death in 50-vehicle pileup on I-80

| February 10, 2010
Snowstorm on Highway 3 in Pennsylvania. (Photo John Baxter)
Snowstorm on Highway 3 in Pennsylvania. (Photo John Baxter)

A second snowstorm in a week played havoc with roads in the Northeast yesterday, Feb. 10, including a 50-vehicle pileup that closed eastbound Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania.

At least one person died in the chain collision on I-80 near milepost 118 that sent 19 people to hospitals, PennDOT reported. The accident began when two tractor-trailers jackknifed out of control in the snowy, windy conditions.

Citing heavy snow and poor visibility, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell had ordered closure of I-76, I-476, I-676 and I-176 Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Rendell ordered closures of I-83 and I-78, and part of I-81 from the Maryland state line to I-80. Rendell said blizzard conditions had made the roadways impassable.

According to PennDOT, the restrictions will remain in place “until the storm passes and travel conditions improve.”

Elsewhere in the state, PennDOT reduced to 45 mph speeds on portions I-79, I-376 and I-279. As an additional safety precaution and to keep traffic moving, PennDOT is asking tractor-trailer drivers using tunnels to remove snow and ice from the roofs of their vehicles. 

Downed power lines closed Baltimore’s I-695 beltway for a time. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a major crash on U.S. 113 in Worcester County involved three tractor trailers and eight cars.

Heavy snow and whiteout conditions forced the closure of federal government offices in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for the third straight day.

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