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Icy roads, crashes reported Wednesday

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Gazette staff
March 24, 2011

Authorities reported icy roadways, dangerous driving conditions and a spate of traffic accidents Wednesday night across parts of Rock and Walworth counties.


Rock County 911 reported at 10 traffic accidents, with seven involving injuries. All came between 7 and 8 p.m. and most happened in the northern half of Rock County, officials said. No fatalities were reported late Wednesday.


Officials reported that driving conditions were particularly hazardous on and around bridges.


A westbound lane at the Highway 11 overpass at South Read Road on Janesville’s south side was expected to be closed for several hours overnight because a semi tractor-trailer had crashed into the bridge and was hanging off it, according to Rock County 911.


It wasn’t clear whether anyone was injured in the crash, but officials said a crane was being sent out to lift the truck.


Several vehicle accidents were reported in Janesville, including a crash near the Centerway Street Bridge and an accident on East Memorial Drive that shut down lanes on the Memorial Drive Bridge at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.


The calls started shortly after 7 p.m., as temperatures dropped and precipitation turned to snow and ice on roads, officials said. Forecasts called for a mix of wintry weather overnight.


Sgt. Chad Pearson of the Janesville Police Department said the icy conditions were unexpected. He said the city and the Rock County sent out salt trucks to deal with the developing ice and slush.


Janesville Fire Department Shift Commander Bill Ruchti said he had all available units responding to at least six crashes in Janesville on Wednesday night. He said departments from the towns of Turtle and Beloit helped with mutual aid.


“There’s a thin coating of ice that’s developed on the roadways,” Ruchti said, noting that in most of the crashes, injuries were minor.


The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office also reported multiple accidents Wednesday night, but had no further details available.



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