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Posted on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 10:43 a.m.

Crashes reported across Washtenaw County as snowy morning causes slick roads

By Kyle Feldscher


Ypsilanti resident Brandon Gordon uses a broom to sweep snow off his car before running an errand on Monday, Jan. 21.

Daniel Brenner I

All the freeways are now open.

As snow falls on Washtenaw County Monday morning, dispatchers are warning that the roads are icy and crashes have been reported on many area roadways.


University of Michigan employee Eric Bellinger uses a leaf blower to remove snow from the steps of Hatcher Graduate Library on Monday, Jan. 21.

Melanie Maxwell |

A Washtenaw County dispatcher said there were crashes all over the county at 10:30 a.m. Monday, but there were no injuries to report. Other than people driving slowly as they make their way through the flakes, there were no major backups to report on area roadways.

Dispatchers said at 11:30 a.m. eastbound Interstate 94 was closed at Notten Road on the western edge of Washtenaw County. Dispatchers said the crash was being cleared and there was no time estimate for when the roadway would open again.

As of 3:24 p.m., that crash was cleared, dispatchers said. The freeway was open again.

At 12:30 p.m., the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office sent out an alert notifying residents westbound I-94 was closed down at Pierce Road. A semi truck jackknifed near the area and there are other crashes in the are of the exit, according to deputies.

That crash was cleared up by 4:30 p.m. Monday and the freeway was reopened.

Dispatchers warned the roads were very icy and the Washtenaw County Road Commission was making a full run to salt the roads.

According to Weather Underground, lake effect snow fell across southeastern Michigan this morning and at times caused visibility of less than a quarter mile.

Many areas will only see light snow showers, but there are narrow bands of heavy snowfall making their way across the area. With temperatures in the teens, roadways will continue to be icy.

Only one inch of snow is expected to accumulate during Monday’s storm. See updated weather conditions on's weather page.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

You might want to check the source for your report? I-94 was shutdown last night also. I for one sat on the highway for over two hours why the clowns were at work. Hint to the State Police and whoever else made the call to shutdown the highway during rush hour. You might think about shutting down a major interstate on off hours? What was the rush to stand up the semi that had rolled over? Second, when something like this happens consider informing travelers/commuters with digital sign stating what happened. Seems all the new digital signs have been put up for eastbound traffic? Guess what those who commute east each day travel west each night. Simply put, the Police were pretty much useless and should not be left to make these decisions. They did absolutely no traffic control on the side roads or anywhere else for that matter. If they can not do anything but traffic stops, I really see no use for them!


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

Where did this info come from? "At 12:30 p.m., the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office sent out an alert notifying residents westbound I-94 was closed down at Pierce Road. A semi truck jackknifed near the area and there are other crashes in the are of the exit, according to deputies. That crash was cleared up by 4:30 p.m. Monday and the freeway was reopened." The Sheriff didn't send out their text message of all clear until 7:30! I wasted an hour in traffic because I thought it was cleared up and it was stopped between Baker and Fletcher.

sun runner

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

The traffic jam on westbound 94 near Dexter and Chelsea yesterday was one of the most enormous I have ever seen. If the blockage was at Pierce Rd (exit 157), the backup extended for over ten miles, past even the Baker Rd. exit. I was heading east into Ann Arbor from Chelsea around 4:45 PM so I got to see its extent on the opposite side of the road. Despite this being a MAJOR area to avoid, the traffic report on WEMU at the top of the hour claimed there were "no problems on the roads or freeways." I actually yelled at the radio, "Are you kidding? There's a ten-mile long traffic jam on 94!" When I was on my way home around 7:15 I ran right into the back of that traffic jam, still there more than two hours later. I thought it would have cleared up by then, because I had also heard the blockage was removed and the freeway was open at Pierce Rd. I was quite annoyed (after passing the Baker Rd exit, one's last hope of escape before the Old US 12 exit) to find that was not the case.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

The police will rarely be 100% correct, its just their nature

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

Be VERY careful everyone. Roads are very slick.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

And where were the salt trucks this morning when this began??????? They have hardly been used this season and already we are experiencing business as usual, salt trucks no where to be found when it snows! The temperatures when it was snowing were in the mid-teens, and salt will work. If the road crews disagree, then where were the sand trucks? Other cities use more modern road treatments in colder weather, instead of salt, and this is not rocket science. It takes a professional approach to road maintenance in the winter, something lacking in A2. Other snowy cities don't seem to have this problem and can get their salt trucks out as soon as the snow starts.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 2:22 a.m.

Buy snow tires.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 2:20 a.m.

Best part is they refuse to sub contract the work out. All the millions they get in funding every year and then they can't seem to do a good job and their answer is, they lack enough funding, ugh


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

Just heard that west bound I-94 west of Baker Rd is at a standstill again.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission actually thinks anyone who drives on county roads in the western part of the county believes they are out salting and plowing? Hah. My drive from Howell to Chelsea today once again has proven that Livingston County knows how to use its resources efficiently to keep roads clear and Washtenaw County simply does not or chooses not to!


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

Absolutely correct. What is the problem with Washtenaw County road maintenance in the winter?? I'd like to hear an explanation.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

Snow exposes the bad drivers among us. For example, those who don't understand the limitations of their automobiles. "You mean I can't follow 10 feet from the guy in front of me on US23 at 80 mph?" "The AWD system on my car won't make up for the fact that I'm driving on summer tires?" "Stopping distances increase?" Etc. Sorry for any otherwise good driver who has had the misfortune today of having had one of these individuals run into them.

Jeff Renner

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

We drove I-94 from Chelsea to Zeeb Road from about 11:20 to 11:50 am. Much of it was in as near white-out conditions as I have seen in a long time, and visibility was never more than a couple hundred yards. Traffic was 45-55 mph depending on visibility, and even slower at times except for a few nuts.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

People drive either too fast or too slow. When they should go 35 mph they go 50 mph and when they can go 75 mph, they go 65 mph. But they drive so safe cause they never speed , lol


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Be careful walking, too. I was just out walking and it can go from "fine" to "ice rink" in one step.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

I've not seen any plows or salt trucks. I know it's MLK day, but they should be calling these guys in to lay some salt. Cars are sliding on Main and Stadium. I saw a lady run through a red on Seventh and Stadium because she couldn't stop while the guy behind her skidded nearly into the curb. I even saw a cop unable to stop and having to run a light at Scio Church. That was all in the matter of about 10 minutes of driving. The snow is melting as cars drive and immediately freezing.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

Exactly how many salt/sand trucks does the city own and exactly what time were they deployed today? It's inexcusable that city streets were as slick as they were all day long. Snow started early this morning. Oh, that's right. The street maintenance budget was skimmed for public art!! Now the bill comes due.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Yeah Argo. I have that magical ability. I can make accurate conclusions without having to conduct a scientfic study for 10 years. If you read my other note, you'd see that I saw that at noon today. That's, oh, only about 6 hours after the snow started. When I came down Stadium earlier in the morning, it was slick. It was even worse by noon. With ice and with vehicles barely getting up Main to cross Stadium. A check, early this afternoon, of the AA website showed only 2 plows dropping salt. That coupled with the fact that the article was noting how many accidents were happening...well, I guess I have enough info for my liking to reach an opinion. If you need more, that's fine, but you don't need to be arrogant about it.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

I drove in the teeth of this weather this morning and saw at least three plows out around 12:30 pm/ One was on Stone School, another on Packard and a third was on state street. The temperature will be an issue with the blowing to allow salt to do its work, so the "cop" needs to SLOW DOWN. I watched in amazement as cars barrelled down I94 at speeds over 60 MPH, and I saw a car hit the median and several actually spin out. Your 4 wheel drive is useless in this.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Hi Dennis P, So you were out for about ten minutes, didn't see any plows or salt trucks, and you concluded nobody was doing anything? Interesting.

Denise Anderson

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

I saw a couple sand trucks out in the Packard/Carpenter Rd area around 12:30.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

" As I understand it, the major roads such as the highways and state highways are the roads that are taken care of first before getting to the major, non-state roads." Kyle, is that correct? I'd have assumed that state plows/salters did the interstate and state roads, the county folks would do the roads outside Ann Arbor and other cities and towns, and that Ann Arbor's fleet would start right away in Ann Arbor, beginning with major streets and working down. If this isn't this how it's done, why not? (Maybe because the state has contracted with the county or city for first dibs on the available trucks?) In any event, about 2:30 Newport was clear and apparently salted, Sunset and Spring were OK (by traffic and sun not plow I think), and the tricky bit of Summit descending to Main was wholly clear.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

Kyle, thanks. But my concern is with city streets. What I saw occurred at lunch time. By that time, I would have thought someone would have passed over these major streets (Main, Stadium) In any case, I believe what you describe is for the County program. The City of Ann Arbor has its own plows and salt trucks. A check at this moment on the City online AVL system shows two plows--one on Traver and another on Summit putting down salt. There are 3 trucks with "ignition on" but no plows or salt according to the web site. There is another truck with ignition off. Nice feature this AVL. See: So, if that is accurate, there are currently two salt trucks serving the city at 3 pm while the roads remain slippery.

Cindy Heflin

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

I saw a truck spreading salt on Interstate 94 at the State Street intersection about an hour ago.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

DennisP - As I understand it, the major roads such as the highways and state highways are the roads that are taken care of first before getting to the major, non-state roads. If you've been away from those roads today, that might explain why you haven't seen those trucks yet.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

Some people just cannot drive period.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

How about a photo from 2013. Makes the article more current(thought out?), than slappin a 2 year old file photo.....

Julie Baker

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

We've updated the photo.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

...or just leave the date off...

Little Patience

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

The roads are very slippery. Hopefully they will get cleaned up a bit for the evening drive. Drive carefully!

Rob MI

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

When I drove through the intersection of Washtenaw/Carpenter/Hogback some time between 10:30 and 11, the power was out to the signals. I hope that gets restored in a hurry. The signal at Packard and Carpenter was functioning correctly. I was going to tout the "treat the intersection as a 4-way stop" treatment for darkened signals, but it turns out--in Michigan, at least--this is NOT the law. During power outages, Michigan law gives the right of way to drivers on state highways and major roads. See the following:

Cindy Heflin

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

Very interesting, Rob. I did not know this either. Thanks for that link. Armed with this knowledge, I will be extra careful approaching intersections when the power is out.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

I was not aware of this law in Michigan, and I thank you for posting the link. While there may have been some rationale for the law at the time it was passed (perhaps based on relative traffic volumes), I think its existence today is dangerous. If a driver, knowledgeable about the law, should be driving on a state highway through an intersection (with dark traffic signals) and assumes those driving perpendicular will automatically yield the driver the right-of-way, that would be a very high-risk situation for an accident. The law should be changed to treat all intersections with dark signals as 4-way stops, state highways or not.


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

People don't like you being so informative.