BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBS/AP) – Authorities say a section of the New York State Thruway near Buffalo remains closed after a lake-effect snow storm strands hundreds of motorists who spent the night in their vehicles. The shutdown has been extended to 25 miles of eastbound lanes, while a 10-mile westbound stretch remains closed.
State Trooper Daniel Golinski says a 10-mile section of Interstate 90 is closed Thursday morning in both directions between exits 50 and 55 along the city’s eastern suburbs. He says the highway was closed shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday after vehicles backed up behind a truck accident became buried in blowing snow.
The truck has been removed but crews are still working to free the stranded vehicles.
The lake-effect storm that began Wednesday dumped up to 19 inches on the Buffalo area, forcing dozens of schools to cancel classes Thursday. Power remains out for about 10,000 utility customers in eastern New York.
Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB spoke to some drivers who were stuck on the roadways overnight.
“I made the mistake of trying to go bowling and now I’m trying to get back to Lake View, but the alternative is trying to get to somewhere where I can sleep,” said stranded driver Bob Schultz.
Stranded driver Brian Kaiser said, “It’s horrible. The Thruway’s all backed up and we’re taking back roads home. We’re going to Niagara Falls. It’s really bad.”
Police continued to work feverishly to help out the motorists.
“We do have State Police out there, our traffic people, our maintenance people our towing garages. They’re basically digging out one by one as tractor trailers get stuck or a car spins out they have to dig them out one by one and try to clear the lane and get traffic moving again,” said Tom Pericak, WNY Division Director, NYS Thruway Authority.
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