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Winter storm causes 100-car pileup, shutdown on Illinois interstate

Interstate 39, which runs from Illinois to Wisconsin, is expected to remain closed through midday Friday after a pile-up on the snow-covered highway Thursday.

A 30-mile stretch of an Illinois highway remains shut down Friday, one day after over 100 cars were involved in multiple crashes amid a powerful winter storm.

Interstate 39, which runs from Illinois to Wisconsin, remains closed in both directions between Normal and Minonk, Illinois, due to the slew of crashes, the Illinois Department of Transportation said early Friday morning.

“It is not expected to reopen until roughly midday today,” the agency said.

Illinois State Police were on the scene at a site of a multi-vehicle crash on I-39 in El Paso, Illinois, Thursday evening, where troopers worked to get motorists off the road, and escorted them to warming centers. 

Trucks in a pile-up on Interstate 39 in Illinois.
Trucks in a pile-up on Interstate 39 in Illinois.Brandon Rixstine

“Troopers are currently working diligently to get everyone off the roadway safely and as quickly as possible. We’re asking everyone to avoid the area. Please do not travel unless it is an emergency,” a trooper said in a video shared by state police Thursday night. 

Videos shared on social media showed the havoc on the snow-covered highway and pile up of semi-trailer trucks as strong winds created low-visibility conditions.

The state was battered with winter storm that dropped over six inches of snow in some areas, like Lincoln, Illinois, and brought freezing temperatures Thursday.

More than 50 million Americans across the country were under alerts late Thursday for winter weather, flooding, rain and other threats.

The storm is now moving north east, bringing with it fierce winds. It is forecast to bring scattered snow showers and squalls in the Northeast Saturday as well as snow and white out conditions to northern parts of the Midwest and East Coast.