All lanes of I-71 have reopened after a massive multiple vehicle pileup on Interstate 71 in Morrow County on Tuesday afternoon. Forty to 50 cars were involved, the Ohio Highway Patrol reported. The Ohio Department of Transportation reported the southbound lanes of 71 opened around 6 p.m., while the northbound lanes reopened just after 10 p.m. ODOT reported to expect residual delays as traffic recovers after the closures
Both north and southbound lanes were previously closed about 10 miles south of the Ohio 97 exit, a patrol dispatcher said. The northbound lanes were closed for about six hours between Ohio 95 and Ohio 97. The dispatcher said most of the injuries sustained in the pileup were minor. A News Journal staffer at the scene said at least six or seven tractor-trailer rigs were involved, with one leaning on a guardrail. Twisted metal, debris and airbags covered a stretch of the highway one-quarter to one-half mile long. The smell of diesel fuel filled the air. ODOT reported in a tweet the pileup was the result of a passing snow squall. According to the National Weather Service in Cleveland, scattered to numerous snow showers are expected across the region Tuesday, with intense snow squalls possible.
Rapid visibility reductions to one-quarter mile or less are possible with the most intense snow squalls, according to the weather service. Motorists should be alert for rapidly changing visibility and possibly slippery, snow-covered roads with these snow squalls, according to the weather service.