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Ice snarls Wilson roadways

Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Mar 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Steady rain followed by a cold front left some ice accumulation on roadways across Wilson County overnight Sunday and had emergency crews busy responding to hazardous road conditions early Monday morning.

At 7:45 a.m., Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen said officers were at the scene of seven wrecks and one with injuries. He said the only road reported closed was the southbound lane of Sparta Pike at Interstate 40. Police re-opened Sparta Pike at about 8:30 a.m. 

As of 10 a.m., Lebanon officers had responded to 42 wrecks within the city limits.

Bowen said their busiest hours were around 7:30 a.m. but several other accidents happened in a window ranging from 5:30 to 10 a.m. Within the four-hour window he said police answered 16 motorist assists calls, 17 non-injury crash calls and four injury crashes.

“We were hit hard this morning,” Bowen said. “We were definitely very busy for three or fours hours around 7 this morning, I think because everyone was out and trying to make it in to work at that time. The main streets were in decent shape, but the side streets were really slick. The city did great and was out early doing everything they could.”

Bowen said he thought the main issue was attributed to ice, which prevents drivers from getting traction while driving.

“Luckily there were no serious injuries,” Bowen said. “I think a lot of people decided to stay home, which is good, because if more had of been out it could have been much worse.”

Wilson Emergency Management Agency Director Joey Cooper said he wasn’t aware of any road closures, but hazardous conditions kept paramedics busy Monday morning, mainly on Interstate 40. 

“There have been no serious injuries thus far,” said Cooper. 

WEMA officials said Monday afternoon some roadways do still contained ice and snow and would continue to be hazardous for travelers through the night Monday and at least through mid-morning Tuesday.

Mt. Juliet police spokesperson Tyler Chandler said more than a dozen wrecks were reported Monday morning in Mt. Juliet, including an ambulance that slid off the road on Rutland Drive at Beckwith Road and a tractor trailer blocking the on ramp at exit 223 eastbound on I-40 earlier Monday morning. 

From 6 to 9 a.m. Mt. Juliet police reported 16 motorists assists and 11 non-injury crashes.

As of Monday afternoon, most roadways had begun to clear up.

Mt. Juliet police said as of 1 p.m. “all roadways are generally clear, but some icy sports remain.”

Bowen said the afternoon conditions were not bad at all and most incidents and roadways hazards were cleared up by 10 a.m. when calls slowed down considerably.

All crews and officials warned that leftover water on the roads could again freeze after sunset Monday and result in patches of ice when temperatures dropped Monday night.

According to the National Weather Service, snow was set to end Monday, but travel hazards would likely continue. 

Tuesday afternoon temperatures should stay above freezing in all areas of the county.

Light rain chances increase Wednesday and Thursday as a weak weather system moves in that could bring snow and a wintry mix Wednesday night. 

The seven-day rainfall forecast shows less than half an inch of rain expected for the state with the best chance of rainfall expected for the weekend.

Temperatures for next week look to be back to normal with highs in the upper 50s and lower 60s and lows in the mid 30s.

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