December 22, 2014

MoDOT warns drivers to stay clear of floodwaters (AUDIO)

Water over road in Athcison County/MoDOT photo

State transportation officials warn motorists not to drive through floodwater during this wet summer.

Floodwater from the Missouri River covers I-29 in southwest Iowa, prompting the closing of the interstate between Rock Port, Missouri and Hamburg, Iowa. Traffic is being re-routed around the flooded roadways. Other roadways have been covered as floodwaters rise.

Elaine Justus with the St. Joseph office of the Missouri Department of Transportation warns motorists a little water on the road could be hiding a much bigger problem underneath.

“If the road has washed out beneath the water’s surface, you won’t be able to see that and you could be driving into a situation that’s something you won’t recover from,” Justus says. “So, please obey the barricades, don’t enter water conditions on roadways.”

Justus worries that some drivers might dismiss such a warning.

“People who especially are driving SUVs with a lot of clearance seem to think that they can go through flooded areas, but moving water is a significant difference from still water, from water that is just standing,” according to Justus. “It can be very bad with the water moving as fast and at the speed that it’s going.”

MoDOT warns against driving or walking through water-covered roadway. According to MoDOT, six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and two feet can float your car. Water moving a mere two-miles-per-hour can sweep a car off a road or bridge, according to MoDOT.

Motorists can find the location of highways closed by water on MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map, available at www.modot.org. Detours for closures on interstates and U.S. routes can be found at www.modot.org/flooding.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:10 MP3]