A portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Interstate 78 was shut down for many long hours, causing disruption to thousands of motorists.
The area was re-opened on Thursday night after massive pile-ups of vehicles that had crashed were cleared from the highway, which was freezing and covered in snow.
Pennsylvania Turnpike officials reported that at least 35 vehicles were involved in the massive chain-reaction pile-ups just before 10 a.m. The westbound lanes were totally blocked as a 4-mile tailback brought the area to a standstill.
The officials said that there were at least four accidents which left motorists trapped in traffic. The motorists were sent back the way they came and their toll charges were waived.
A spokesperson for Turnpike, Renee Colborn, said 10 people were taken to hospital for treatment but fortunately no deaths occurred. In a conflicting report from State trooper, David Beohm, he said that 25 people were taken to local hospitals and at least 44 were treated on the scene.
The most serious of the injuries was one person who needed to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for more treatment.
The acute wintery conditions across North America have caused no end of havoc for motorists since the beginning of December and especially over the Christmas period.
The holidays are always a difficult time for motorists and commuters as many public services shut down or work on a reduced timetable.
It it fortunate that no one was killed in the Pennsylvania Turnpike pile-ups. Indeed, Troopers and local authorities are surprised that the human toll wasn’t worse.
Motorists are advised only to venture out in snowy conditions if absolutely necessary and to always ensure they have blankets and plenty of water just in case an emergency arises.