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Many dozens of vehicles collided in a pileup that closed westbound Hwy. 55 over the Mendota Bridge for nearly two hours Monday afternoon amid snowy and icy conditions, authorities said.

Joe Mueller,

Many dozens of vehicles collided in a pileup that closed westbound Hwy. 55 over the Mendota Bridge for nearly two hours Monday afternoon amid snowy and icy conditions, authorities said.

Joe Mueller,

Many dozens of vehicles collided in a pileup that closed westbound Hwy. 55 over the Mendota Bridge for nearly two hours Monday afternoon amid snowy and icy conditions, authorities said.

Joe Mueller • Special to the Star Tribune,

61-vehicle pileup on Mendota Bridge; 1 person hospitalized

  • March 24, 2014 - 11:39 PM

Dozens of vehicles collided in a pileup that closed westbound Hwy. 55 over the Mendota Bridge for nearly two hours Monday afternoon.

Snowy and icy conditions contributed to a chain reaction that began about 12:50 p.m. when two vehicles lost control and crashed, according to State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.

“A semi then jackknifed and crashed into them, blocking all lanes,” he said. Dozens of other vehicles behind the semitrailer truck then crashed into each other, leaving a tangled mass of vehicles on the highway, Roeske added.

The lieutenant said the final tally of vehicles involved was 61. One person was hospitalized for minor injuries, he added. Damage to the vehicles behind the semi was considered minor.

The highway’s westbound lanes were closed at the intersection of Hwy. 55 and 110 in Mendota Heights until shortly after 2:30 p.m. while the eastbound lanes remained open.

Just enough snow fell to gum up metro highways and create scattered slippery spots, especially on and below bridge decks.

Tim Harlow and Paul Walsh

© 2014 Star Tribune