The Friday rush hour began the same way Thursday evening's ended: ice covered road, lots of spinouts and crashes.
The action started early in Blaine with a two-mile back up on Hwy. 65 from Hwy. 242 past a vehicle that slid off the road at 105th Avenue. That set the tone for the morning that saw a viscous flow all across the metro.
Among the most tangled spots was eastbound I-94 from Rogers to downtown Minneapolis. A crash on southbound 494 just past the Fish Lake Split caused gridlocked condtions on I-94 that extended as far back as Brockton Lane in Maple Grove. Ahead, a wrecks on I-94 at 42nd Avenue and icy conditions on the infamous Brooklyn Center curve added another 30 minutes to the drive into downtown Minneapolis.
Southbound 494 finally loosened, but not until well after 8 a.m., so commuters who opted to head down to 394 then east into Minneapolis didn't save much time.
Commuters in the south metro on I-494 saw the bridge over the Minnesota River near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport turn into a crash trap. Wrecks on both sides of the bridge tangled eastbound and westbound traffic for hours. At 8 a.m., the trip on westbound 494 from Lake Road in Woodbury to Hwy. 100 in Bloomington was estimated at 45 minutes.
Southbound Hwy. 100 crept along through Robbinsdale due to a crash that took out two lanes at Duluth Street around 7:30 a.m. Southbound 169 was not a great alternate as it was packed, too
In Plymouth, traffic signals in flash mode at Hwy. 55 and I-494 led to big delays for eastbound Hwy. 55 motorists. The logjam extended back two miles to Hwy. 101.
Where there were not crashes, congestion made for delays, which added time to the drive, but not as much as on Thursday evening when 2 and 3-hour commutes were common. Roads continue to be in rought shape due to black ice and blowing snow, so even though the sun is out, the best advice to plan on lots of extra time and lay off the throttle.