Snow fouls traffic on I-94 in Wisconsin; no major problems here

Snow is causing slippery conditions and some accidents but no major problems so far this afternoon on Chicago-area expressways, but conditions north of the border in Wisconsin are far worse.

Roads were blocked by spunout cars, accidents and two fatalities in southeast Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. One major roadway affected is I-94 in Racine County -- that road connects Chicago and Milwaukee and it's going to be tough going for anyone travelling between the two cities today. Part of I-94 in Racine County remains closed.

Milwaukee County coroner’s office investigator Jenni Penn reported one fatality related to the snow on I-43 in Greenfield, Wis., southwest of Milwaukee. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene near Highway 100, Penn said.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said they had “numerous’’ separate crashes along the interstate system, not one pileup involving 70 cars or 35 cars.

 “We’ve had well over 60 crashes,’’ Schmaling said. About ten of those were personal injury crashes, including one that left a man dead, he said. The rest caused only property damage.

“A cash involving two, three, or four vehicles, and then two, three or four vehicles down the road,’’ Schmaling said. “It was very sporadic,’ he said.

The man, who Schmaling declined to identity, died on the scene about 10 a.m. on southbound I-94, just north of Highway 20 in Yorkville, Schmaling said.

All of the wrecks involved people who were driving too fast for conditions and could not stop in time.

“People are driving incredibly too fast,’’ Schmaling said. “There is just a couple of inches of snow but underneath is a layer of ice.’’’

“They are driving at speeds that are conducive for clear, dry conditions.’’ the sheriff said.

Northbound I-94 is open, but moving slowly, but southbound I-94 between the Milwaukee County Line to State Highway 11, is expected to be closed until 6 p.m.

“If you must drive, slow down. Allow yourself enough time to stop safely,’’ the sheriff said.

"The roads were just so icy...we got a big storm that came through and it just iced it all," said a  dispatcher for the Racine County, Wis., Sheriff's police.

On Cook County roads the Stevenson Expressway has been the hardest hit, according to an Illinois State Police District Chicago trooper.

“We have seven crashes there now,’’ the trooper said at 2:30 p.m., adding none of them caused serious injuries.

Most are near the southern end of I-55, near Harlem Avenue, LaGrange Road, and County Line Road the trooper said. 

Earlier an Illinois State Police District Chicago sergeant said the snow resulted in "a few fender benders" on Cook County highways mostly in the south part of the city and south suburbs off I-57 and I-80 and near south suburban Posen.

"It's concentrated in that area,"the sergeant said at 12:30 p.m. "There are no major incidents."

Troopers were busy on the tollways, said a dispatcher.

Details were not immediately available.

Lake County roads, including U.S. 41, are very slippery, according to a sheriff's office dispatcher.

"Everything is slick and all our plows and salt trucks are out,"’ the dispatcher said.

No area is worse than any other, the dispatcher said, adding that there have been no major accidents.

"It's all sliding into each other at stoplights," the dispatcher said.

In Chicago, an e-mailed release from the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation said that the city is deploying 200 plows and salt spreaders to keep streets clear. | Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking

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