Hundreds crash, spin out — Monday afternoon commute will be tough
Snow should fall Monday afternoon areas of New Jersey that had only seen mild impacts earlier in the day, making for a challenging afternoon commute for some.
New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said bands of very heavy snow will contribute to a sloppy, slippery evening rush hour for most of New Jersey.
"There was a report of 1 inch of accumulation in about 45 minutes at Spring Lake Heights, Monmouth County. That is some heavy snow," Zarrow said.
Road crews have been challenged by precipitation changing from sleet to rain and back to frozen precipitation for the past two days. But they have been helped by the number of people who decided to stay home on Monday.
"Fortunately a lot of folks heeded the warnings and we saw lighter travel this morning during the morning commute. With a lot of schools having delayed openings or closing early or being closed all together and a number of businesses followed suit," DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro told New Jersey 101.5.
State Police said that as of 2 p.m. they had responded to 248 motorist aide calls for spinouts and and stalls, and 366 crashes.
Schapiro said statewide, more than 2,200 plows and spreaders were on the roads Monday, mostly assigned to Central and North Jersey to work through the night to clear roads through the night for the Tuesday morning commute.
He urged drivers to give them plenty of room to work and to not try and pass them.
A ban on tractor trailers, passenger vehicles pulling trailers, recreational vehicles and motorcycles remained in effect on Route 80 in both directions from the PA state line to exit 43 (Route 287), Route 78 in both directions from the PA state line to exit 29 (also Route 287), and Route 287 in both directions from exit 21 (Route 78) to the New York border.
State Police Col. Patrick Callahan said that the ban would remain in effect until conditions are determined to be safe.
A tractor trailer ignored the ban and jackknifed on the southbound lanes of Route 287 in Riverdale, blocking all lanes for several hours. Schapiro said a DOT tow truck helped remove the truck.
NJ Transit reported no major issues because of the storm.
More than 17,000 JCP&L customers were without power in Sussex and Warren counties as of 4:30 p.m, according to the utility's outage map. PSE&G's utility map showed a scattering of outages throughout its service area.
A school bus carrying 16 students in kindergarten through fifth grade from the Millstone Elementary and Millstone Primary schools and a Dodge Ram pickup truck crashed on Millstone Road at Sweetman Lane in Millstone on Monday afternoon, bringing down a utility pole and a transformer on top of the bus, according to the Millstone Fire Company.
The company said the children were evaluated but only the driver was hospitalized at Jersey Shore University Medical Center for treatment of non life-threatening injuries. The cause of the crash remained under investigation by State Police.
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