Chain-reaction crashes close Pennsylvania Turnpike for hours

Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:19 AM   |   0 comments

LANCASTER, Pa., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Chain-reaction crashes on the snow-slicked Pennsylvania Turnpike closed the westbound lanes in Lancaster County for 8 hours Thursday, officials said.

The eastbound lanes between Reading and Morgantown were also closed for a time to allow cars to get out of the massive traffic backup on the other side and head back to the Morgantown exit, LancasterOnline reported.

Renee Colborn, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, said the problems began when several vehicles rear-ended a snowplow shortly after 9 a.m. A state trooper said there were as many as 10 multi-vehicle crashes.

The turnpike did not reopen completely until after 5 p.m.

Police reported numerous injuries from the crashes.

Eric Horst, head of the weather center at Millersville University, said an unexpectedly heavy snowfall, 1 to 2 inches, hit the area starting at around 2 a.m. Storms usually weaken as they move eastward into Lancaster County but this one became stronger, he told LancasterOnline.

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