Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 2, 2014

Storm halts interstate traffic overnight

Tony Huffman
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM —  Sleet, ice and snow led area travelers to slip and slide off roadways over the weekend.

     During the overnight hours Saturday and into Sunday morning, Effingham Fire Department was called out to local interstates approximately five times, said Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy. There were two vehicle rollovers, several semitrailers in ditches and a jackknifed semitrailer near the Sigel exit of Interstate 57/70.

     “Interstate traffic southbound was stopped for several hours after a rig jackknifed overnight (Saturday),” said Holomy.

     After the truck was cleared from the roadway, Holomy said semitrailers had trouble making it up the hill by the trilevel overpass east of Effingham. Road salt had to be thrown under semitrailer tires for traction.

     According to Holomy, there were no serious injuries from any of the accidents that kept firefighters busy overnight.

     Although some travelers preferred to stop for the night, accommodations were available at local hotels and warming centers weren't needed, as they were in the last storm, said Holomy.

     Holomy, who is acting city Emergency Management Agency coordinator, reported no power outages as of Sunday evening.   

     In Effingham, a half an inch of ice and sleet had accumulated by Sunday afternoon. Crews worked to clear county highways, but secondary roads remained slick, according to Effingham Sheriff's Deputy Tim Forehand, who was on patrol much of Sunday

     "If you are going to travel today, be very careful and expect delays," he said of travel Sunday.   

     A single-vehicle rollover occurred near Montrose on 1500 Ave. when a vehicle driven by Marcos Martinez, 45, of Effingham lost controlled, left the roadway and rolled. Martinez refused treatment at the scene but was taken into custody by Effingham Sheriff Deputy Travis Monnet for having no valid driver's license.   

     Monnet indicated there were several other minor traffic problems, but none that resulted in major damage or injury.   

     “The roads are just terrible right now,” said Monnet Sunday evening, who mirrored the opinion shared by all emergency officials, which was to stay home during inclement weather.

  According to Effingham County Engineer Greg Koester, who coordinates snow and salt trucks for the county, five trucks ran during the day and three overnight Saturday and Sunday to spread sand and road salt on hills, curves and intersections. With snow falling after the application of sand and road salt, the trucks had to reapply those materials after the roads were plowed.

     “We are going to try and keep them clear as possible," said Koester.