Car crash mash-up in Houghton

HOUGHTON – Houghton Police Chief John Donnelly called it the biggest collection of car crashes he’s seen over a two-day period in the city.

Tuesday and Wednesday, the icy roadways led to 28 incidents around town, Donnelly said at the Houghton City Council’s Wednesday meeting. Most were minor, Donnelly said.

Donnelly encouraged drivers to drive more slowly and take alternate routes incorporating the higher-priority streets for clearing, such as Sharon Avenue and Bridge Street.

“There are times that you just can’t go everywhere,” he said.

Salt doesn’t work well on roadways below 20 degrees, Waara said.

“When the road gets that cold, and the snowpack gets that hard, it’s kind of like throwing flour on a coffee table, and then blowing on it,” he said. “It just disappears. There’s nothing to hold it together.”

The crashes came despite the city having three sanders running Wednesday. Even within a half-hour of a sander coming by, the combination of new snow and cars “shining up” an intersection makes it slick.

“The process just keeps repeating itself,” Waara said.

With temperatures expected to warm up next week, crews should be able to clear the snowpack off the roads, Waara said.