INDIANAPOLIS,Ind. - Workers were prepared to treat interstates and highways Thursday as forecasts were predicting a measurable snowfall. That's what INDOT officials said after several crashes before and during the morning commute.
While it wasn't the biggest snow storm of the season, INDOT's spokesperson for east central Indiana, which includes Marion County, said the department was aware of what was coming and followed its usual procedures for a storm this size.
“We were appropriately staffed," said Chris Myers, the communications director for INDOT's east central district. "We had guys out on the road right when we needed them.”
Myers said the department started looking this storm about a week ago. Wednesday night, when it began snowing, crews were on the road. It began around 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Then minutes into Thursday morning, INDOT deployed 16 trucks specifically for interstates, state highways and U.S. highways around Marion County. There were as many as 68 trucks out across the entire east central district.
Two hours later, more trucks hit the road.
“About 2 a.m., we went ahead and had additional drivers come on out," said Myers. "We went from 16 drivers to 27."
That's how many remained on the roads through most of Thursday.
Still, drivers had problems avoiding slick spots. A few semitrailers were involved in crashes that happened on Interstate 69 and Interstate 74. Other crashes included a 14-vehicle pileup on Interstate 70, near Holt Rd. Also, a Brownsburg police officer was hit in a rear-end collision, which happened on I-74.
The Weather Authority reported the immediate area had not seen measurable snow, at least 0.1 inches, in 28 days. According to Myers, an extended break from snow can cause drivers to not use as much caution as they typically do during snowy and icy conditions.
“People saw spring the past week or so," he said. " They got in the spring mindset. People might get on the roadway and not be paying attention to exactly what the weather is going to be, they assume it’s going to be those nice temperatures.”
Myers added one other reasons more crashes might happen on interstates in late winter is due to more cautious drivers driving substantially slower than other drivers who feel comfortable, which can cause more crashes if people aren't noticing how fast every motorist is going.
"If you are driving slower than the rest of traffic, please turn on your flashers," Myers said. "Let others know in the area.”