Icy glaze snarls roads

December 21, 2005

The glaze this week was on the roads instead of the Christmas cake where it belonged.

Six inches of snow snuck into the Gorge Sunday night, and fluctuating temperatures on Monday yielded an icy recipe for danger.

“Treacherous,” is how Hood River Police Chief Bruce Ludwig described the streets that received a thin coating of ice after temperatures spiked above freezing briefly — and then dropped again — on Monday afternoon.

“We have experienced a number of fender—bender accidents,” Ludwig said. “We spent a lot of time directing traffic at critical intersections.”

The glaze covered the sand that was on the roads, requiring a second treatment.

Police and sheriff’s officers guided cars one-by-one up and down 9th street, near State, getting help from passersby to help push some cars.

“It caught people off guard, got above freezing and then dipped right down,” Sgt. Gerry Tiffany of Hood River County Sheriff said.

“It was just a hazardous freezing rain,” he said.

Ludwig cautioned that the gravel itself could cause a road hazard once the ice thaws, the grit itself becoming slippery. Police, Sheriff and Oregon State Police reported no serious accidents on any of the roads or freeways.

“We’re very fortunate: people have slowed down,” said Lt. Patrick Ashmore of Oregon State Police.

He reported a dozen crashes on Interstate 84 between Cascade Locks and The Dalles Monday and Tuesday, none with serious injury.

Trucks got stuck on the “Button Bridge” on Highway 35 just above Exit 64, and two trucks jackknifed on one of the Memaloose State Park exits just before noon Tuesday.

Tiffany and Ludwig both praised the work of the city and county road crews for their attack with layers of sand where needed.

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