A heartbreaker of a commute on Valentine's Day

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: February 14, 2013 - 9:04 AM

Twin Cities motorists were feeling no love this Valentine's Day as even modest snowfall overnight bogged down the morning commute from one side of the metro to the other.

Slick road surfaces forced many drivers to back off the accelerator, while others tested fate and were given an "F" for their efforts. By 9 a.m., travel times were far slower than normal in many locations, threatening to extend the morning rush hour into overtime.

At the peak of the morning commute, multiple mishaps -- some involving injuries -- were causing major problems on Hwy. 169 near Canterbury Road in Shakopee. A semitrailer truck jackknifed on the southbound side, closing all lanes in that direction and backing up inbound traffic for at least a mile. Northbound 169 was creeping along as well.

On I-494 in the south metro, a string of crashes and spinouts were impeding travel from near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport eastward past I-35E.

Also among the more troublesome were: Eastbound Interstate 94 from Hudson, Wis., toward St. Paul; southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 in Brooklyn Park all the way past I-394 along the Hopkins-St. Louis Park border; and two crashes on eastbound I-694 through Fridley were headache-inducing.

Snowfall reports were mostly in the 1- to 3-inch range around the Twin Cities, but the timing gave depth to the consequences. Elk River reported 3 inches, Crystal 2.6, Ham Lake 2.5, North St. Paul 2.3, Richfield 2 and Roseville 1.

As for the forecast, snowfall is pretty much in the rear-view mirror for the rest of the day and the week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). A high of about 30 is anticipated today, before dipping into the mid-teens for highs Friday and Saturday.

pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

harlow@startribune.com • 612-673-7768

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