Roads reopen after brutal storm

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Snow Storm along Route 150 in Coal Valley - photo from Sara Clifton (5)

It took nearly 24 hours for some roads to reopen after stranded and wrecked vehicles combined with drifting snow to block travel in Iowa and Illinois.

Roads declared open by late Friday afternoon were still icy and snow-covered, and state police in Iowa and Illinois continued to remind motorists to use extra caution when traveling.

All towing was banned at the height of Thursday’s storm because of high winds and dangerous road conditions.  The tow ban was lifted Friday afternoon, December 21 for Clinton, Jackson and Jones counties in Iowa.  The ban was to be lifted at 9 a.m. Saturday in Scott, Cedar and Muscatine counties.

A drive from the Quad Cities to Iowa City that normally took an hour or less was trying the patience of some drivers Friday.  That drive stretched to nearly three hours as crews continued to clear snow, crashes and stranded vehicles from Interstate 80.  They made significant progress and were continuing to clear lanes into the late afternoon hours.

A News 8 viewer traveling Friday from the Quad Cities to Des Moines reported seeing more than 160 stranded vehicles along that stretch of I-80. 

An 80-mile stretch of Interstate 35 was closed Thursday but reopened Friday morning between Ames and Mason City, Iowa. 

Highway 6 was closed westbound from I-80 to Durant on Friday morning.  The Scott County Sheriff recommended against travel there Friday so crews could have a clear path to remove the stranded vehicles and snow and ice from the road.

Vehicles of every variety were stranded, in ditches or wrecked on roads all over the storm-stricken communities in Illinois as well.  Low temperatures and wind chill values made salt that was spread on some roadways ineffective.

More than 100 stranded motorists were rescued and taken to shelter locations in Warren County.  U.S. 67 reopened by about 2 p.m. Friday after being closed for nearly 24 hours.  U.S. 34 was reopened by about 3:30 p.m. Friday after it was closed between Monmouth and Biggsville.

Weather conditions continued to cause problems on parts of Illinois Route 164 from Galesburg through Monmouth and into Henderson County, and it was unclear how soon the road might be cleared.  Illinois Route 116 through Warren County was passable but some parts were down to one open lane. 

Route 41 was open in McDonough County. 

All state routes were open in Hancock County. 

Drivers were warned to expect slower-than-normal travel on area roads throughout the weekend.  Some roads may be reduced to one open lane as crews continue to clear stranded vehicles and snow.