Fresh snow and slick spots on roads prompted a travel advisory for Bartholomew County motorists Monday morning and resulted mostly in slide-offs and minor accidents. But there were scary moments as well, including when an RV trailer was left partially hanging over an Interstate 65 overpass barrier near Columbus.
The I-65 accident involving the trailer occurred about 10 a.m. in one of the southbound lanes at the 68-mile marker, restricting traffic for about three hours.
“A truck pulling an RV trailer lost control,” said Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, public information officer for the Indiana State Police’s Versailles District.
“The RV trailer got hung up on a concrete wall,” Wheeles said.
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One lane was shut down until a tow truck arrived to lift the trailer onto the interstate, at which time both lanes were closed until the accident was cleared, the Indiana State Police said.
No injuries occurred in the accident, Wheeles said.
Bartholomew County, like much of the state, was in a travel advisory Monday — the lowest level of a advisory, when routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation.
Columbus was on the northern edge of a section of the state where up to 2 inches of snow was forecast. Indianapolis and points north had been expected to receive 2 to 4 inches of snow.
Bartholomew County also was under a winter weather advisory for snow from the National Weather Service, which meant periods of snow would cause primarily travel difficulties. Motorists were advised to be prepared for snow-covered roads and limited visibility, and to use caution while driving.
Even though few commuters were on the road Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and school closings across Bartholomew County, accidents still occurred.
From about midnight Sunday to 10 a.m. Monday, police responded to nearly 10 accidents, said Todd Noblitt, director of Bartholomew County’s 911 Emergency Operations Center. All were minor, he said.
From about 10 a.m. to mid-afternoon, police responded to another 13 accidents — mostly slide-offs and property damage — with most occurring in the 11 a.m. to noon range when heavier snowfall was occurring, Noblitt said. However, none of the later accidents seemed serious either, he said.
In preparation for the snow, the state Department of Transportation at 10 p.m. Sunday called out 28 plow trucks for state highways and Interstate 65 in the Columbus area.
City and county crews also were busy clearing roadways.
Bartholomew County road crews started clearing snow-covered roads at about 8 a.m. Monday, said Shannan Hinton, Bartholomew County Emergency Management director.
About 20 city trucks were clearing streets, with most focusing on the main streets while a few worked on interior streets, said Bryan Burton, Department of Public Works director.
Crews got city main streets down to slush in the morning, Burton said, but he was concerned about another round of snow wiping out the work the city crew had done.
While Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. was not scheduled to be in session Monday because of the Martin Luther King holiday, two other local schools canceled classes for Monday — Flat Rock-Hawcreek Schools in Hope and Columbus Christian Schools.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of flurries today in Columbus. It forecasts conditions as sunny and cold, with a high near 14 degrees and wind chill values as low as negative -12, and a west wind around 7 mph. A wind chill advisory was placed into effect until noon today.