ROSEVILLE, Minn. - A tour of the traffic cams told the story better than words can.
Vehicles spun, fishtailed and struggled for traction Monday morning as commuters dealt with a light coating of snow that quickly turned to ice and morphed freeways into a game of bumper cars.
State Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Eric Roeske says there were at least 50 seperate crashes or instances of vehicles leaving the road, most of them between 8 and 9 a.m. Monday when most of the snow was flying. He says the majority of the incidents were in the east metro, and the worst conditions were on ramps.
The MnDOT Twitter feed was littered with reports of crashes, spinouts and disabled vehicles as the morning wore on. The worst stretch seemed to be on Interstate 94 westbound, especially from the junction with Highway 280 all the way into Minneapolis.
"This morning's storm came in fairly quickly, we had a little bit more than flurries," said MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard. "We did get snow compaction and we got some refreeze on the road so we did have icy conditions, lot of ramps and loops and some bridge decks were icy this morning. That's kind of the area we focused on."
A pickup pulling a trailer hit the median near the junction of Interstate 35W and Lake Street, causing another huge backup. A Metro Transit bus could be seen on the shoulder jacknifed, and semi trailer trucks struggled for traction as they attempted to pull their heavy loads.
The incidents created backups that stretched for miles, meaning that bosses are hearing plenty of traffic excuses to start out the week.