It was almost like somebody placed a crash magnet on westbound I-94 between Snelling Avenue and Hwy. 280. Between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., no fewer than four wrecks and stalls clogged traffic. Backups extended as far east as Western Avenue and led to travel times of 20 minutes between the downtowns.
The flurry of crashes abated by 8 a.m. and traffic recovered nicely, actually moving close to the posted speeds for the remainder of Friday's rush hour.
Out in Rogers, an early-morning crash at the Crow River blocked the left lane for about 40 minutes. That had traffic stacked up several miles to County Road 19 in Albertville. After it cleared around 6:35 a.m., the flow picked up and the jam disappeared.
By 8 a.m., it looked more like a weekend on metro area roads as many mainline routes had lots of open space. There was no hint of congestion on Hwy. 100, Hwy. 169 or I-494 in the west metro. South metro routes zipped along, too, including Cedar Avenue and 35E and 35W.
At this hour, a medical emergency on the shoulder of 35W northbound at 86th Street and a fender bender on the ramp from County Road 23 to southbound 35W in Lino Lakes are the only obstructions.
And alert from St. Paul Police warns drivers to be on the lookout for police activity along I-94 between White Bear Avenue and McKnight Road. A man who was believed to be a jumper was spotted on the Ruth Street bridge 15 minutes ago, but he apparently moved on.