Updated: 01/07/2014 5:14 PM
Created: 01/07/2014 4:30 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen
The New York State Department of Transportation has shut down a portion of the Thruway because of the poor conditions. The stretch from Henrietta (Exit 46), all the way to the Pennsylvania state line has been completely shutdown to traffic in both directions. Traffic heading west from Albany or Syracuse will have to get off in Henrietta and find a detour to their final destination.
Dangerously cold temperatures and blowing snow made driving so treacherous that Genesee County issued a travel ban on its roads.
Timothy Yaeger, Genesee County Emergency Maintenance, said, "Pretty much all the roads are impassable. A state of emergency was issued this morning around 11:00a.m. and a travel advisory was about 11:45a.m. as well. Just treacherous driving, drifting, blowing snow. Zero visibility pretty much everywhere. Multiple tractor trailers off the road on the Thruway as well as Routes 20 and 77 in the county."
Whiteout conditions left visibility at just a few feet. It made travel on the Thruway come to a crawl, that is until it came to a complete stop due to an accident in the westbound lane just two miles before the Batavia exit. A tractor trailer and a propane truck collided, blocking traffic and keeping motorists stuck for nearly two hours. A short time later, the Thruway was closed to all traffic from the Henrietta exit to the Pennsylvania state line.
News10NBC was caught up in the backup while they cleared the accident. While we were stopped, we had a chance to talk to other drivers who shared their thoughts on the white-knuckle ride.
Mike Stone said, "It's windy and you can't see two feet in front of you. It was all clear back there. All of sudden, everything just came in whippin'.”
Greg Roney said, "It's ridiculous, but it is a part of the game, so you knew it was coming."
Most people in Batavia appeared to be adhering to the travel ban. News10NBC only saw a few cars in downtown Batavia.
As for the Thruway, it remains closed at this hour as the DOT monitors the situation and waits for the blowing, drifting snow to pass.