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Falling Ice Closes Damages Cars Near Former Hancock Center; Briefly Shuts Down Part Of Dan Ryan Expressway

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Several cars were damaged by falling ice outside the former John Hancock Center on Thursday, and part of the Dan Ryan Expressway was shut down for about half an hour after ice falling from road signs caused some minor crashes.

Illinois State Police confirmed the Illinois Department of Transportation closed the outbound Dan Ryan express lanes between 26th and 47th streets shortly before 10 a.m., while crews remove snow and ice from overhead signs. The lanes reopened by about 10:30 a.m.

Police said they have responded to a number of minor crashes due to ice falling from expressway signs.

Meantime, falling ice near the former Hancock Center, at 875 N. Michigan Av., also damaged the windshields of several cars Thursday morning.

Giselle Castro was in her Jeep when a chunk of ice shattered her rear windshield.

"I'm in shock right now," she said. "I just started crying."

Castro had just dropped off her fiancé at work.

"It just was a loud bang, and I panicked, and I moved from there, but so much ice was falling," she said. "I mean, if that went through my head, I would be dead."

Castro tried to give her fiancé a kiss goodbye, but he urged her to get out of the danger zone instead.

"I was just happy and glad that she was okay. Nothing happened to her," Ricardo Camargo said.

There's no question a direct hit from a large piece of ice could have been lethal.

That's why police cordoned off the area outside the iconic skyscraper, and shuttle bus coordinators donned hardhats to protect themselves. Delaware Place was closed between Mies van der Rohe Waye and Michigan Avenue.

Camargo said something more must be done.

"It's going to get warm this weekend, where ice is going to melt, bigger chunks are going to fall. So they've got to figure something out," he said. "It's not only for the vehicles, but the safety of the people."

Police and fire crews also blocked off Wacker Drive between Washington and Monroe due to falling ice, blocking off large portions of the sidewalks.

Officials have closed parts of several downtown streets at times over the past few days due to ice falling from skyscrapers, after Sunday night's blizzard.

Falling ice could be an issue for the next few days in Chicago, as freezing rain is expected Thursday night across northern Illinois, likely causing icing on cold surfaces by Friday morning.

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