IDOT increases patrols as Metra, CTA modify services during dangerous cold

CHICAGO — Metra will run a modified schedule as transportation officials work ahead to keep rails, buses and roads safe during the extreme cold expected to hit the region Wednesday.

Historic cold weather will stay in the Chicago area through Thursday with near record lows Tuesday night, a near record cold high temperature Wednesday, and near record cold lows again early Thursday. Wind chills could dip to below -50 degrees.

Metra implements modified schedule

Metra will put speed restrictions into effect once the air temperature hits 0 degrees, as is expected Tuesday evening. Then a modified schedule will take effect Wednesday to provide enough service for the number of passengers expected.

The schedules will reduce how much mechanical equipment is used and how many moves are made through switch points, lowering the chances of service disruptions because of switcher problems.

Check out the modified schedules here.

IDOT patrols to watch for stalled cars

Dipping temperatures can kill batteries, flatten tires, and cause cars to just run out of gas, and IDOT's Emergency Traffic Patrol (ETP) will be out and ready to lend a hand on the expressways.

The ETP "sting drivers" will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week across the seven major expressways. Emergency patrols will help divert traffic with the 70-ton capacity heavy wreckers, and provide a safe place for stranded drivers to turn.

If you find yourself stranded on the highway, you can call *999 or 911 if it’s emergency. But if you can avoid traveling the next few days, IDOT says that’s an even better option.

Officials say it's important to keep in mind that even when there’s no snow coming down, the roads may be deceiving.

"It’s not going to be snow on the ground, but any moisture that’s in the air and any moisture that’s on the pavement will freeze, and it’s going to freeze quickly, and a lot of the time it’s going to be difficult to tell if it’s there or not," said Guy Tridgell, IDOT Spokesperson.

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