Commuters during a snowy Tuesday morning were met with some of the worst travel times the Chicago area has seen in years.
The morning rush hour quickly turned to gridlock as snow-covered expressways were peppered with crashes and spin-outs, prompting Illinois State Police to advise an emergency snow plan, meaning motorists involved in minor accidents were told to keep driving.
The drive times peaked around 7 a.m., with the inbound Kennedy Expressway reaching three hours and 38 minutes.
Roughly one hour later, that time had dipped to two hours and 40 minutes.
The worst commute times were seen on the Kennedy Expressway inbound, the Eisenhower Expressway inbound and the Stevenson Expressway inbound.
At 7:30 a.m. the Eisenhower Expressway inbound saw travel times at two hours and 40 minutes and the Stevenson was at two hours and 15 minutes.
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At the same time, the inbound Dan Ryan Expressway from 95th Street sat at one hour and 45 minutes.
At 8:30 a.m., the drive time from O'Hare International Airport at the Byrne Interchange was similar to the time it would take to get from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Michigan without traffic.
"We could barely see," said commuter Maria Camacho. "It was barely visible at all."
NBC 5 traffic reporter Kye Martin reported such drive times haven’t been seen since the afternoon commute during the blizzard of 2011, when people were forced to ditch their cars due to weather conditions and lack of fuel.
A Lake Effect Snow Warning was issued for Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties from 7 p.m. Monday to 4 p.m. Tuesday, with the potential for heavy lake effect snow that dumped several inches to the area overnight. A second warning takes effect at 9 p.m. Tuesday in Porter County in northwest Indiana and remains in effect until 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The latest round of snow began falling Tuesday evening.
An accident involving roughly 20 to 30 vehicles caused significant delays on the Kennedy Expressway. Police said there were some minor injuries reported and authorities were working to relocate the cars as of 11 p.m.