Not much trouble on LI's major roads

Plows clear heavy snow Wednesday on Route 58 Plows clear heavy snow Wednesday on Route 58 in Peconic. (Jan. 12, 2011) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

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The snow from the overnight storm that slammed Long Island was largely cleared from the major roads - including the Long Island Expressway and the Northern and Southern state parkways - by Wednesday afternoon.

There was at least one traffic glitch: The eastbound LIE was closed for a little more than an hour early Wednesday afternoon because of icing conditions.

The closure at Exit 51, Deer Park Avenue, in Dix Hills lasted from 12:02 p.m. to 1:18 p.m., according to the state's Department of Transportation. Traffic had been diverted onto the service road by the Suffolk Sheriff's Department.

A scan of the DOT traffic cameras showed the area was one of the few spots on Long Island where a major road was impacted by the aftermath of the storm.

Most of the major roads - the Northern and Southern, Meadowbrook State Parkway, Sagtikos Parkway, Sunrise Highway, Route 110 and even most of the expressway - showed few traces of the snowstorm by noon.

The state DOT said it had prepared roads with a brine mixture - that is, a saltwater solution - in anticipation of the storm that helped reduce icing conditions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also had ordered plows be mobilized to specifically concentrate on entrance and exit ramps on the LIE, an issue that caused major problems during the blizzard in December. The fact that the storm moved through so fast also allowed crews to plow roads quicker. In December, exceptionally strong, gusting winds created drifts that blew snow back onto roads after they had been cleaned, DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said.

Then, gusts hit 66 mph.

This time, winds were in the 25 to 35 mph range, the National Weather Service said. That reduced drifts.

Still, officials said the storm led to dozens of minor accidents overnight in Nassau and Suffolk. Police said there were no serious injuries reported.

A car hit a tree on Jerusalem Hollow Road near Moriches-Middle Island Road in Center Moriches, police said. Another car was in a snowbank on the westbound Sunrise Highway Service Road near Waverly Avenue in Patchogue.

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Nassau police said 16 accidents involving 26 vehicles were reported between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 4 a.m. Wednesday. Police said numerous motorists were stranded.

Suffolk County recorded 48 disabled and abandoned vehicles during the storm, 63 total vehicle crashes, but no fatalities, County Executive Steve Levy said.

Conditions varied greatly depending on location. At 7 a.m., DOT traffic cameras showed a clear road where the Long Island Expressway crosses the Cross Island Parkway, while the roadway a few miles away - at New Hyde Park Road - was coated in snow and ice.

And near Exit 53 in Brentwood, there were near-whiteout conditions and the road was still buried in snow.

Route 25 was closed at Bay Avenue in Mattituck at 6:30 a.m. because of a downed tree, the DOT said. The road was reopened by 12:49 p.m.

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