Commute Turns Wild As Temps Drop

Posted at 8:45 AM, Feb 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-19 11:30:06-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — You could almost follow the path of dropping temperatures from the pattern of slide-offs, rollovers, and fenderbenders Tuesday morning.

The rain overnight froze on the pavement, and the first artery that surprised drivers was I-96 in Ottawa County. Three rollovers took place almost simultaneously on eastbound I-96 just west of Coopersville. Not long after, the slide-offs began in both directions.

As the falling temperatures moved east, the slide-offs starting happening on I-196 in the Holland/Zeeland area, even though most drivers were smart enough to slow down under 50 miles per hour.

One westbound semi slide-off I-196 near the Zeeland exit and spent most of the morning commute partially blocking the highway.

Three lanes of northbound US-131 were blocked by a crash north of Ann Street, causing a rare morning northbound backup.

Drivers are used to slowdowns in the morning on southbound US-131 around West River Drive, but the backup Tuesday morning lasted longer and backed up farther than usual as conditions worsened.

Eastbound M-6 became a parking lot for a time with crashes and slide-offs around Kalamazoo Avenue and Broadmoor Avenue.

By contrast, traffic moved fairly smoothly in the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek areas, with speeds dropping under 50 miles per hour only on US-131 north of I-94. But the Kalamazoo/Portage area joined the rest of the region as crashes started to happen while snow moved in.

02-19-13 Rollover I-96 02

02-19-13 Semi v car US-131 at W River Dr