Chesterton Tribune



Freezing rain leaves roads icy; schools, county government closed today

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All Porter County government offices were closed today and a travel advisory issued until further notice, after a wintry mix of rain and freezing rain turned unincorporated roads into treacherous sheets of ice overnight.

The Porter County Election Board meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. today and the Plan Commission meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. were both canceled as part of the government closure.

Duneland Schools also canceled classes today and declared an “inclement weather eLearning day,” with teachers posting assignments to Canvas and students responsible for submitting their work by 10 a.m. Friday.

All Chesterton High School sports events were postponed.

Although at mid-morning today the Weather Channel reported the local temperature to be 36 degrees, it was forecasting a steady drop to below freezing by 2 p.m., with the low expected to be around 16 degrees.

Meanwhile, the yo-yoing temperatures over the last 24 hours have played havoc with traffic, leaving area roadways ice-glazed and slick. Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune that he began receiving reports of multiple crashes and slide-offs on Ind. 49 about 4 p.m. Tuesday, by which time he’d already dispatched his full fleet of seven salters onto the streets.

“Here’s the problem in a nutshell,” Schnadenberg said. “Yesterday we knew it was going to rain and then freeze up. So we had all of our trucks ready and loaded. Around 4 p.m. we started hearing about crashes on Ind. 49 all over the place but we didn’t have any accidents in town because we started salting before the roads got slick. If you know ice is coming, you have to put the salt down early.”

Schnadenberg’s drivers salted until 8 p.m., then went home. But at midnight the Chesterton Police Department was reporting that the roads were getting icy again, so the salters hit the streets once more, until about 4 a.m. But unincorporated roads were perilously icy this morning, Schnadenberg added. A couple of his men who live in Jackson Township made it in to work okay, but had to keep their speed to 20 miles per hour the whole way, he said.

CPD Assistant Chief Dave Lohse, for his part, reported a multi-vehicle accident at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Ind. 49 and U.S. Highway 6 which backed up traffic considerably, while drivers for Joe’s Towing Inc. have responded to 13 or 14 crashes or slide-offs since Tuesday afternoon.



Posted 1/23/2019




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