Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The Missouri Department of Transportation has closed Interstate 70 across the state from St. Louis to Kansas City. Heavy snow is making the highway impassable and whiteout conditions are causing poor visibility. MoDOT said this action would help keep motorists from becoming stranded on the interstate. The agency is continuing to plow statewide as conditions allow.
In addition, MoDOT and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are now diverting traffic off of I-44 at Springfield because the closure of the Will Rogers Turnpike has caused trucks and other motor vehicles to back up and block exit ramps.
The State Emergency Management Agency is working to make shelters available to travelers who have to exit the interstates, and MoDOT, the Highway Patrol and the National Guard are providing assistance to stranded motorists. Call 211 for shelter information.
Road conditions in most of Missouri are poor and rapidly deteriorating. Commercial drivers and other motorists should find the nearest possible shelter off of the highway. Trucks should seek safe harbor at the nearest distribution center, truck stop, shopping center or other large parking facility. DO NOT stop on shoulders or ramps. Crashed and abandoned equipment that block a highway lane might be moved off of the road when clearing operations are able to resume.
“We’re in a state of emergency, and people need to act accordingly,” said MoDOT Director of System Management Don Hillis. “This is a storm unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time, and it will take us some time to get things cleaned up. People need to stay off of the highways until we can get them cleared.”
In addition, Colonel Ronald K. Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, continues to strongly urge citizens to stay safe and discourages driving in this type of hazardous weather conditions.
For more information, motorists can get the latest road conditions from MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map located at www.modot.org. Travelers can also call MoDOT’s toll-free number, 888-275-6636, to get road condition information.
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