MINNEAPOLIS - Metro Transit says the entire Hiawatha light-rail line was closed for a large portion of morning rush hour due to extensive icing on overhead power lines early Thursday morning.
John Siqveland from Metro Transit tells KARE 11 that although trains are equipped with ice scrapers to clear the power lines it was simply icing faster than they could clear.
Light rail trains began having problems with the ice around 5 a.m.; By 7 a.m. Metro Transit made the decision to shut its lines down.
Shortly after 9 a.m. light rail service resumed in downtown Minneapolis between Target Field and Franklin Avenue stations. At 10 a.m. the Hiawatha line reopened as well.
Siqveland says this is the worst impact weather has had on the Hiawatha Line in its 8.5 year history. He says portions of the line have been closed before - but not the whole thing.
On freeways and highways across the Twin Cities metro a heavy burst of snow on top of a coat of ice made for a rough commute. The Minnesota State Patrol reports that between 5 and 10 a.m. troopers responded to 187 crashes statewide, 18 involving injury. Another 289 vehicles left the road or spun out.
From noon Tuesday to noon Thursday the numbers are even more daunting; The patrol reports 415 crashes, 56 with injury. Troopers were dispatched to help 475 vehicles that had either left the road or spun out. Ten semi jackknifes were also reported.
For more on road conditions you can access the MnDOT 511 web page.
It's not just on the ground where transportation issues are occurring. Storms in areas throughout the system are creating a domino effect that as of 7 a.m. had cancelled more than 100 flights. Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Pat Hogan urges air travelers to contact their airline to check on their flight.
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