20-vehicle crash shuts down snowy I-5 - KPTV - FOX 12

20-vehicle crash shuts down snowy I-5 near Albany

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As many as 20 cars were involved in a crash that shut down Interstate 5 between Salem and Albany on Thursday morning.

The southbound lanes were completely closed three miles north of Albany as a result of the crash, but one lane reopened around 12:10 p.m.

There were no reports of significant injuries from the pileup.

"The snow kind of came out of nowhere and it really got icy," said Shawn Dodd, who was involved in the crash while heading from Vancouver to Albany. "A motorhome started twirling around and people tried to avoid it and it didn't work out so well for a lot of people."

Oregon State Police troopers said there were also several smaller crashes on I-5.

PHOTOS: 20-vehicle pileup on I-5

TRAFFIC: Cameras and speed maps

In fact, I-5 northbound was temporarily blocked eight miles south of Albany because of a multiple-vehicle crash.

ODOT briefly issued a chain requirement for the Linn County area, but it has since been lifted.

Drivers should avoid the area or expect delays; or better yet, delay or cancel travel if possible.

"The message to motorists is simple: If you can avoid driving on the roads or highways in the next day and a half or so, do it. Otherwise, be prepared. Have extra clothing. Have blankets. Have extra water," said Rick Little, an ODOT spokesman.

For those considering driving, ODOT shared the following tips:

  • No one can safely drive on ice. If roads get icy, consider not driving or delaying your trip until the weather warms and the ice thaws.
  • In ice or snow, allow plenty of stopping distance and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists because stopping distances are so much longer.
  • ODOT sand trucks, plows and de-icer trucks can't clear roads clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be treated.
  • Consider leaving the driving to the professionals and taking mass transit. Consider walking, riding a bike, working from home or taking the day off until the roads are clear.
  • Don't abandon a vehicle in heavy traffic. This delays emergency responders, prevents plows and other maintenance equipment from getting through.

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