Ice, and a whole lot of it, in San Luis Obispo County on Wednesday morning.
There were about 15 crashes on Highway 101 in Atascadero. The ice prompted one of the lanes of the highway to be closed.
“I’ve been here seven years and I don’t remember the 101 being closed due to ice or snow or anything like that,” said Patrick Seebart, California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer.
Northbound Highway 101 from Santa Barbara Rd. to San Diego Way was temporarily shut down to one lane of traffic for an hour or two Wednesday morning.
“Just (because of) the icy roads,” Officer Seebart said.
One truck slid on the ice and hit a sign.
From 4:15 a.m. to about 9 a.m., it was crash after crash totaling at least 15 wrecks, according to the CHP.
“That’s a lot of calls for our office, especially in a short time frame like that,” Officer Seebart explained.
Ice blanketed the highway. CHP called in officers early. Caltrans was also manning the highway.
“They would plow it, sand it, and then when there was a delay from cars going over it, it would re-ice,” Officer Seebart said.
“This is the sand-based material we use on the roadways,” said Joel Armer, Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor. “It contains no salt. It does not melt the ice. What it does is gives vehicles, rather they be cars or pickups, traction on the roadway.”
Caltrans used 12 tons of sand Wednesday morning.
There were no closures going south but there was ice on the highway from Curbaril Ave. to Santa Rosa Rd.
In another crash on Parkhill Rd., the CHP says a mom and two kids went off the road and hit a tree. The car flipped due to ice.
“If you do experience sliding on the ice, we want you to take your foot off the gas, don’t use your cruise control and very little steering input, keep your steering wheel in the direction you want to go,” Officer Seebart said.
The ice affected cars and people.
“My doors were frozen shut,” said Kathy McCarthy. “I had to squirt them to get them to open.”
A San Luis Obispo man said he heard a noise and looked outside to see that it was his neighbors who fell on the icy pavement at around 12:30 a.m. He went to check it out and he fell, too.
“You can see my boot slide and I fell right about here,” Lon Alexander explained.
Caltrans says they use sand on the highway every winter but this is the first time they’ve used it this season.