Officials: Slick conditions lead to multiple accidents

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Gazette staff
Friday, January 10, 2014

JANESVILLE — Friday's rainfall made for slippery city and county roads Friday night.

The National Weather Service issued a freezing rain advisory for Rock and Walworth counties Friday afternoon. Originally, it was scheduled to end early in the evening, but the continuing rain and the treacherous road conditions prompted an extension of the warning to 6 a.m. Saturday.

While the National Weather Service was extending its advisory, local officials were asking drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible.

Beginning about 3 p.m. or so Friday, "the rain started coming pretty heavy and pretty much freezing right away," said Sgt. Troy Egger of the Rock County Sheriff's Office.

Just an hour or so after the rain began, roads and hills started glossing over with ice. The slippery roads prompted the Janesville Police Department to issue an advisory at 7:05 p.m. asking people to avoid hills in the city because cars were consistently getting stuck or sliding. 

At some points during the evening, city trucks out salting and emergency vehicles out on calls reported getting stuck on the hills.

"The biggest problems are the hills because there is so much ice. Cars are sliding down," said Sgt. Mike Blaser of the Janesville Police Department Friday night.

The county was salting the main roads, Egger said. Janesville Public Works employees were salting the municipal roads and had no intentions of coming in until the roads were significantly better, Blaser said.

Janesville police were blocking off some streets for short periods of time to allow salt trucks to treat the roads without traffic, Blaser said.

The icy conditions were effecting the whole county as accidents were reported from the north to the south.

At about 4:15 p.m., the icy conditions had already resulted in four or five runoffs and two to three accidents, one with minor injuries, said Matt Bender, shift supervisor at Rock County Dispatch. The injury accident occurred at Highway 11 and South River Road.

"Highway 11 is extremely icy," Bender said.

As of 9 p.m. no major accidents were reported, Bender said.

Drivers were encouraged to stay off the roads as much as possible, especially hills. If driving was absolutely necessary, sticking to the main roads was safest, Egger and Blaser said.

"The best thing to do is slow down," Egger said.

Some intersections began to flood Friday night, Blaser said. Public works employees were working to clear those intersections to the best of their ability, he said.

Last updated: 4:22 pm Friday, January 10, 2014

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