Lower Hudson Valley roads are a snowy, treacherously dangerous mess Friday morning, and many drivers are staying off the roads.
“I normally don’t ask people to stay home, but this is one of those days,” said White Plains Public Works Commissioner Joseph “Bud” Nicoletti. “Because of the cold it’s much more treacherous than it looks. If you do have to go out, please make sure to go slow and give yourself plenty of space to stop.”
Traffic appeared light on many major roads, which remained snowy, about 9 a.m. But a rollover accident in the median of Interstate 84 east of the Taconic State Parkway was causing delays, according to hudsonvalleytraveler.com.
Also, an accident closed Exit 10B off the Bronx River Parkway to Bronx River Road in Yonkers shortly before 8:40 a.m. Icing had temporarily closed the ramp from the northbound Bronx River Parkway to the Cross County Parkway, but the road was reopened before 9 a.m., police said.
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Officials continued to advise people to stay off the roads if possible.
In New Rochelle, the main roads were passable, and snow plow crews were attacking the secondary streets, said City Manager Charles Strome III.
“I would say there passable, but if you don’t have to go out, don’t,” Strome said shortly before 9:30 a.m. The snow fell so heavily between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. that the crews were forced to plow and re-plow the main roads, he said.
The temperatures dropped so low overnight that liquid mix of sodium chloride and rock salt often used to pre-treat roads before snowfall loses its ability to prevent snow and ice from sticking to pavement.
“The problem is that once the temperature falls to about 10 degrees, salt and sodium chloride loses it’s effectiveness,” Nicoletti said. “That’s why we’re seeing packed snow instead of bare pavement right now.”
The New York State Thruway reopened to passenger cars at 5 a.m. and commercial vehicles at 8 a.m. Interstate 84 reopened at 8 a.m. after being closed overnight.
Roadways were said to be open in most municipalities. In Yonkers, on Warburton Avenue, near the city line with Hastings, a downed power line caused a partial road closure, police said.
In the pre-dawn hours, drives to White Plains from New Rochelle and Mamaroneck found main roads plowed but the surfaces packed with snow, visibility limited by wind-blow snow. The Hutchinson River Parkway was snow-packed, it was difficult to distinguish the plowed driving lanes from the shoulder in the dark, and snow was higher on the ramps. Speed was about 30 mph under the conditions, and few cars were on the parkway.
By about 6:40 a.m., major roads such as Palmer Avenue in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck Avenue in Mamaroneck remained snowy with light traffic easing along the roads.
In Rockland County, Route 304, Route 59 and a southern stretch of the Palisades Interstate Parkway were plowed and passable, with an inch or two of snow cover. Ramps connecting the highways were a little sketchy, though, requiring motorists to proceed at a crawl for a few white-knuckle minutes.
Police across Rockland reported no accidents as they said few cars were on the road, competing with plows pushing aside snow.
While the Thruway had been closed all night, there was still plenty of plowing work to be done on the road from the Palisades Parkway to the Tappan Zee Bridge. At 6:30 a.m., the southbound Thruway had better than 2 inches of snow and motorists were traveling single file, with only a few drivers daring to skirt around to create a second travel lane. Once on the Tappan Zee, the wind off the Hudson was whipping and, at the superstructure, had done the work the plows had not, clearing it to bare asphalt. The toll plaza was in bad shape, with packed snow left and right and drifting snow in the middle.
The posted speed limit on the bridge was reduced to 35 mph, but few drivers were going faster than 30 on the wind-swept span