Scene of 20-car crash in I-35 tunnel in downtown Duluth during morning snow. Pic by DNT's Bob King pic.twitter.com/QpcclTH7sK— Duluth News Tribune (@duluthnews) February 13, 2014
Five inches of quickly falling snow on Thursday caused dozens of accidents across Duluth, including a multi-car crash that closed a stretch of Interstate 35 for hours.
The crash happened in one of the tunnels along the edge of downtown Duluth and forced the highway to close at 11:30 a.m. The highway re-opened around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
The I-35 tunnels near downtown can be dangerous, said Duluth Deputy Chief Mike Tusken. "Any time you get a vehicle stopped in there, often times another driver coming won't see the accident until they come around a turn, and often times it's too late to stop."
Duluth police responded to nearly 30 crashes by 2 p.m. Some drivers got stuck going up the city's steep hills, completely stopping traffic, Tusken added.
"The plows couldn't keep ahead of it," he said. "Front wheel drive vehicles, even with good tires, often times can't make it, when we get this slushy, greasy type of snow like we had today."
Snow covered roads and made them slippery across northeast Minnesota and much of the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.