Freezing rain and icy roadways wreaked havoc on drivers early Wednesday in the tri-state area – with transportation officials urging motorists to stay home if possible.
A person was killed in New York around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday in an accident on a ramp connecting the eastbound Cross County Parkway to the northbound Bronx River Parkway, Westchester County Police said.
“Always a traitor there”, the agency tweeted. “Avoid driving if possible.”
Dropping temperatures overnight left many roads in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut covered in ice, authorities said.
In the Garden State, crews were clearing multiple crashes on the Pulaski Skyway, which was closed in both directions after 6 a.m. according to the state department of transportation.
“Freezing rain and sleet make morning commutes slippery,” the agency said later. tweeted. “Please be extra careful, go slow and assume the wet pavement is black ice.”
Other crashes in New Jersey were reported in East Rutherford, where all westbound lanes west of the Hackensack River Bridge were closed. All eastbound lanes of I-80 were also closed near exit 64 in Lodi after an accident involving multiple vehicles and a jackknifed tractor-trailer, transportation officials said.
New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management said icy roads were plaguing drivers across the state, leading Governor Phil Murphy to suggest they stay home.
“Stay off the roads if you can,” Murphy tweeted.
The dangerous conditions also caused a ground stop at Newark Liberty International Airport and delays of more than an hour at LaGuardia Airport, WABC reported.
Crashes were also reported in New York City, with all lanes blocked on the Goethals Bridge and the westbound Staten Island Freeway, according to the station.
In Queens, the Jackie Robinson Parkway reopened around 2 a.m. following a car crash about 90 minutes earlier on Woodhaven Boulevard, according to NYC emergency management officials.
Video from the scene showed a TLC driver hit a late-model Mercedes Benz on an icy road, where several other cars allegedly lost control just before the collision.
The driver of the Mercedes was reportedly taken to Jacobi Medical Center in critical condition, while several other victims were said to have suffered minor injuries. Firefighters and paramedics carried a woman away on a stretcher, according to footage.
A message seeking comment from the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission was not immediately returned.
Elsewhere in the area, a school bus carrying a group of high school students in Hackensack, New Jersey also crashed into a utility pole on Wednesday, the Daily Voice reported.
Eight students, an assistant and the driver were uninjured after the 14-passenger bus partially slid off the road in front of Hackensack Cemetery and wiped out a pole, police told the outlet.
Meanwhile, in Connecticut, the state Department of Transportation issued an “essential travel only” alert early Wednesday.
“Although crews are activated at midnight, the pre-treatment does not stick to dry roads and the rain prevails, making freezing rain extremely dangerous,” the agency said. tweeted. “Please exercise extreme caution in freezing conditions.”
Temperatures were “slowly rising” in the tri-state area early Wednesday, but there are still many patches of ice on the roads, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker told the Post.
“Temperatures have been in the twenties or teens, so ground surfaces have been quite cold,” Walker said, adding that those conditions made travel potentially difficult.
Roads should improve by early afternoon as temperatures continue to rise, Walker said.
Until then, drivers should be extra careful, especially on bridges and overpasses, as they tend to stay colder longer than other surfaces, he said.
“Take it slow and easy,” Walker said.