Icy roads strike county again

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Perry Siddons and Jamie Ensor were throwing salt underneath this semi to help give it traction to get up the hill on N. Jackson Street in front of the Banner Graphic around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Yet another bout of ice gave area drivers fits on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

As of 6:20 p.m., Sergeant Richard Myers of the Putnamville state police post reported that Putnamville officers had worked 32 crashes and slide-offs in the area.

With conditions as they were, Putnam County Commissioners issued a Level 2 Hazardous Transportation Warning at about 2:30 p.m.

This warning permits only essential travel, which is defined as travel to and from work, travel to obtain essential medical care or required prescriptions or medications, travel to obtain essential supplies of food or fuel, travel to seek shelter or travel of emergency vehicles and emergency workers engaged in emergency operations.

Crashes made movement nearly impossible on either I-70 or U.S. 40. Myers reported that I-70 in Putnam County was "still covered in ice and very slick."

Westbound I-70 in the county was stopped at the 45 mile-marker due to slide-offs and crashes in the area.

Additionally, U.S. 40 eastbound approximately one mile west of U.S. 231 was blocked by crashes.

Dara Robinson, evening shift supervisor for Putnam County dispatch, said 51 wrecks were reported between 11:24 a.m. and 3 p.m. All but one -- an overturned State Highway Department truck filled with sand -- were minor slide-offs or collisions. Medical personnel were dispatched to two of the accidents, but no serious injuries were reported.

As of 3 p.m., several roads were closed or had traffic at a standstill, including U.S. 231 from Waterworks Hill to Windy Hill Golf Course, S.R. 240 from Chad Valley to C.R. 825E and I-70 between the 41- and 47-mile markers.

Robinson said cars and trucks were having trouble getting up the hills and negotiating curves in the areas of U.S. 40 in Putnamville, Tesmer's Corners on Manhattan Road and Plessinger's Hill.

"The county and state are doing the best they can to get the situation under control," Putnam County Planner Kim Hyten Tuesday. "But right at the moment, it's a losing battle."

Hyten feared the ice would cause power outages.

"I'm not sure we're going to get above 32 degrees today, so I really don't know what's going to happen," he said.

According to the weather forecast of the Associated Press, though, conditions were expected to improve in the overnight hours. While the chance of precipitation remained 100 percent, temperatures were expected to rise slowly overnight, with the freezing rain changing to rain.

Today's forecast calls for highs in the 40s with a mix of rain and snow, but no accumulation.

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  • I went out this morning to get home just in time (before the ice), but my husband wasn't as lucky, he only got home a few minutes ago and said it's awful. People slow down!!!!!! It's ice not rain.

    -- Posted by dcsaiht on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 1:46 PM
  • Who do we need to talk to? This is ridiculous that we can bail out all these private businesses but we can't get any money for salt!! People are risking their lives just driving home from work! I'd rather see a little more of my tax dollars going toward purchasing salt. The state and counties really dropped the ball on this one.

    -- Posted by Rome on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 3:18 PM
  • The State cut your property taxes, and hence cut services. There is no free lunch.

    -- Posted by localman on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 6:21 PM
  • No excuse for the way the state handled the conditions of the roads today. They knew this was coming.Everytime there is no school the state especially don't seem to care about the taxpayers that work long hours and can't go home early if roads are bad. I have also noticed past winters if bad weather falls on the weekend they are lax on getting out there.

    -- Posted by BOO_Boo on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 8:04 PM
  • Localman, I just heard the state has a surplus. Let's just get some **** salt!

    -- Posted by Rome on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 8:25 PM
  • My husband was stuck (meaning stopped) on I-70 (in Putnam County) for 7 hours!!

    -- Posted by stay at home mom on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 11:13 PM
  • is it true that the road crews were told not to 'prep' the roads for this ice storm that we all knew was coming? that's what someone told me while i was at a pit stop in stilesville tonight about 7pm. Took us 4 hours to drive from plainfield to stilesville and another 2 plus hours to get from stilesville to greencastle. Where were our road crews when we needed them????? (I do know where three salt/sand trucks were ...they were wrecked and stranded in various ditches along 40!) very dangerous situation! just got home about an hour ago...still winding down from that treacherous trip.

    -- Posted by just a local on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 11:28 PM
  • At some point in time, you must take responsibility for yourself. Yes the state knew it was coming, but you also must have known it was coming. Maybe you should have planned ahead a little better. Just a thought.

    -- Posted by JustinH on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 6:58 AM
  • You people are incredible. You complain all the time. It was an ice storm, get over it. What did we do when these happened, 5, 10, 15 years ago. Deal with it and move on, I am sure you weren't the only people stuck or delayed.

    -- Posted by idiot on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 7:31 AM
  • to JustinH -this was a horrible situation on 40 for the correctional officers that change shifts at 6pm at Putnamville Correctional-they can't go home early-there is no plan for that to go home early-and the officers trying to get there.All the traffic on 40 could not have been level 2 travel.And the State should have been on top of this storm.

    -- Posted by peace2019 on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 7:40 AM
  • my buddy left work in indy at 330pm and got to the west edge of plainfield. traffic was backed up from bellville he heard. so he turned around and went shopping till 8pm. headed home, and got to the the edge of plainfield again and traffic was stopped. he finally got home at 2am. said semis and large vehicles were just stuck on the smallest hills, while the smaller vehicles could drive they were scared to go around the semis. i myself witnessed traffic backed up from plessingers hill all the way to greencastle. we came from cloverdale and didnt have a problem. but the sight at plessingers hill for the south bound traffic was a first. cars were going down plessingers hill one at a time. it was the craziest sight. longest line of cars i had ever seen. the hill was melted and in pretty good shape as long as you drove slow.

    definately was one of the craziest storms in our memories. hope all made it home safely. merry christmas!!!!

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 8:10 AM
  • My husband and I were stuck on 42 in the parking lot of the Lutheran Church for over 6 hours, along with about 30 others before a very nice person in a truck took us home, or we would still be stuck there. The Cloverdale police came out twice to tell us he was sorry but there wasn't anything he could do and left. The salt or sand trucks had not been down 42 even once. I understand they are busy and we wouldn't have even been on the road if it wasn't for the fact that my husband had surgery yesterday morning, but they really should have at least salted all the highways. I agree with knotanative..instead of bailing out these big companies when they have put themselves in the situtaion they are in, send that money to the states to distribute it to each county. Boy the money that Mark Frisbie stole would have been nice to have for salt yesterday. Since Putnam County doesn't like to put people in jail for breaking the law lately, maybe they should start fining them big time as punishment and use that money for things like this.

    -- Posted by putnammom on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 8:20 AM
  • My husband also was on his way home from Indy after work leaving there at 3 and didn't make it home until 10:30 and traveled hwy 36. And only seen one state truck!! What's up with that???

    -- Posted by asmalltowngirl on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 9:32 AM
  • buy a little salt and put it on the roads ! if the county had been doing their job they would not have to pull the salt truck BACK UPRIGHT that is on its side across fom pch.....how much is that going to cost? Is that cheaper than salt? THE COUNTY IS WASTING YOUR MONEY! let me know if there is a good explanation for this!

    -- Posted by mike andrews on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 10:38 AM
  • I work in Indianapolis and couldn't leave early as we were shorthanded.... I ended up having to stay the night in a hotel up here because all roads leading to my house were closed, I-70, 40, 240, and 231. Thankfully I didn't try to drive home, sounds like it would have taken me hours on end.

    -- Posted by gc2008 on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 1:03 PM
  • I AM NOT GOING TO START ON THE POOR UN INFORMED PEOPLE OUT THERE. PEOPLE say thanks to the STATE COUNTY AND CITY CREWS OUT THERE...Till u walk the walk dont try to talk about them as bad as u have. I know they the state turned the truck over on icey road 231,not county (onE of our men from cloverdale unit).we have salt and we have been using it. THANK YOU are you would not be able to MOVE.... ENOUGH IM SORRY THANKS MY BROTHERS IN THE SALT TRUCKS....YOUR BIG DOG DAD IV BEEN THERE!!!WITH THEM YOU ALL HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS

    -- Posted by BIG DOG DADDY on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 1:09 PM
  • We left Bloomington at 2:15 and came to a standstill on SR 46 just west of Ellettsville then crawled at what seemed like a snail's pace for 2 hours to McCormicks's Creek State Park. The hill down to Spencer was okay as long as people drove slow. 231 was okay from Spencer - the salt trucks were escorting groups of cars up and down the big hill. 231 remained okay to South of Cloverdale with just a few slick spots - and surprisingly Short-cut road was okay. State road 42 was an entirely different matter. Cars were in the ditch on either side of the road in all sorts of interesting positions, and the road itself was a solid sheet of ice. Some cars were bottle-necked in the middle of the road and it was impossible to go any further. Eventually was able to turn around - and got back to Cloverdale - picked up a couple of pizzas and camped out on a family members' couches and floor and watched movies. A 50-60 minute trip took 4 hours and 15 minutes. It wasn't a planned adventure, but we adapted and got thru it. It's a memory for the Christmas Journal. It could have been worse.

    -- Posted by Scripted Spontaneity on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 1:30 PM
  • This is the web site to asked Mitch a question , use it if you have a comment, someone will answer it. As long as it is decent.


    -- Posted by dirtboy7419 on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 6:08 PM
  • u tellem knotanative

    -- Posted by manintenn on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 9:37 PM
  • i didnt have any problems getting around, knew the ice was comin run my errands for it got here and stayed home. it came so fast the state couldnt keep up with it, but hey it only lasted one afternoon an evening an was pretty well gone by the next morning....its winter folks, deal with it.

    -- Posted by justmoveonwillya on Thu, Dec 25, 2008, at 5:14 AM
  • took us 5 hours to get from greencastle to heritage lake sad that the county knew the ice was coming and was very unprepared i did make it home but i pay high dollar taxes and they couldnt even put out sand till the storm had allready hit merry christmas everyone

    -- Posted by ironmaiden on Thu, Dec 25, 2008, at 9:06 PM
  • Are you people still crying about this. There was no reason for you to be out. They did the best they could.

    -- Posted by Nick | Nack on Thu, Dec 25, 2008, at 9:50 PM
  • Excuse me Knick Knack but how do you know some of us had no reason to be out? People still have to work. I'm sure they weren't anticipating the traffic being the way it was when they left to go home. Or for instance, my husband had to have surgery early that morning and we had planned on being home before the storm hit. But things happen and we had to wait on therapy for almost 2 hours before they would let us go. By then the storm had started and the traffic was so backed up it took us 2 hours to drive 6 miles, because the highway crews did NOT do their job. We had no idea that traffic would be so bad and I am sure all the other people didn't either. Our 4 children were at home waiting for us. We HAD to go home! So pardon me..if those of us that had no choice but to be out in the storm are upset that we pay taxes and the salt/sand trucks were NOT doing the best they could. They should have started way before the storm hit. Highway 42 had not yet had ONE salt truck on it as of 10pm. And instead of sending someone out, they closed the road, leaving at least 50 people stranded on the side of the road, unable to go anywhere. And all they said was "there isn't anything we can do" I'm sorry but I feel that is unacceptable. I am not blaming just the trucks either. The county/state isn't funding them the way they should be and I'm sure they are short of help and supplies like sand and salt. And people are upset about it. So if you don't like our "crying" then don't read the comments.

    -- Posted by putnammom on Thu, Dec 25, 2008, at 11:43 PM
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