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The southbound lanes of Hwy. 169 in Hopkins have reopened following a multi-car pileup that had lanes blocked for more than 2½ hours Friday morning.

Slippery conditions led to a series of chain-reaction crashes on an overpass in the vicinity of Excelsior Boulevard just before 6 a.m., the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.

The scene was reminiscent of a demolition derby as car after car bumped into each other on the icy overpass. There were so many vehicles involved that authorities closed the southbound lanes and diverted all over traffic onto Excelsior Boulevard.

“Fifteen to 20 may be on the low side,” a spokesman working in MnDOT’s traffic management center said. “It was nonstop.”

The State Patrol said 22 vehicles were involved.

It started with a crash between a van and a sedan. Then other drivers began to change lanes, lost traction and hit other vehicles., said Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the State Patrol.

Three people were injured and one person was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injures, she said.

An appeal over a police scanner called for “extra cars [officers] to help write [up] crash reports.”

The wreckage was cleared and the highway was reopened around 8:35 a.m.

Black ice may have played a role in the pile up at temperatures were below zero at the time.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768