Accidents, closures snarl commute

Downed power lines at Jericho Turnkpike and Dix

Downed power lines at Jericho Turnkpike and Dix Hills Road in Huntington station. (Feb. 2, 2011) (Credit: Newsday / Arnold Miller)

Nassau County police handled 30 car accidents Wednesday morning amid an ice storm that wreaked havoc with the morning commute.

Icy weather caused a handful of accidents on many major roads in Nassau and Suffolk Wednesday, though most appeared to be minor, police said, while other roads closed because of downed power lines or tree limbs, ice or flooding.

Nassau reported the 30 accidents between midnight and 9 a.m. No serious injuries were reported.

At about 7:45 a.m., flooding closed the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway southbound at Exit 44, the eastbound entrance to the Long Island Expressway, Nassau police said.

A water main break also closed Montauk Highway in both directions on the Copiague-Lindenhurst border Wednesday morning.

Montauk Highway was closed at East Riviera Drive at 6:48 a.m., the state Department of Transportation reported. It was not immediately clear when the road would reopen.

State Police said one lane of the southbound Robert Moses Causeway had been closed north of Montauk Highway in West Islip after a tree limb came down at 6:42 a.m.

Suffolk police also said westbound Jericho Turnpike had been closed at Dix Hills Road because of downed electrical wires after a 911 call reported a truck had crashed into a utility pole at about 5:30 a.m. It was not known if anyone was injured.

State Police said there were fender-benders on the Wantagh, Meadowbrook and Southern State parkways, all believed to be ice-related.

The Suffolk County Sheriff's Department reported spinouts on westbound Sunrise Highway just after 7 a.m., one at Exit 43 in Bay Shore and the other at Exit 50 in Sayville. Sheriffs said it appeared no one was injured in either accident, each involving one vehicle.

Earlier, an overturned vehicle briefly closed the southbound Meadowbrook Parkway between exits M4 and M5. That crash was cleared before 7 a.m. No one was seriously injured in that crash, State Police said.

On Tuesday night, certain iced-over locations became magnets for accidents. Dix Hills Assistant Fire Department Chief Tom Magno said there had been six accidents between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on the Northern State Parkway west of Deer Park Avenue.

No one was injured, he said, but a bad stretch of ice at that location had cars skidding all over the place. "It's terrible," Magno said.

State Police said they saw similar accidents on the Northern and Southern state parkways, while the Suffolk Sheriff's office said there were 27 wrecks on its roadways Tuesday between 1 and 6 p.m.

The DOT said it had extra workers out overnight pounding roads with salt. "People need to be taking it good and slow," NYSDOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said.

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