Snow has belted northwest Missouri, creating treacherous traveling conditions throughout the region this morning.
Interstate 29 north of St. Joseph was closed last night. MoDOT re-opened I-29 this morning at around 8:30. Don Hillis, Director of System Management for the Missouri Department of Transportation, says the interstate remains snow-packed and will be slow-going for a while.
MoDOT is urging motorists not to travel on highways north of St. Joseph unless absolutely necessary. Road crews have been out all evening, plowing snow from the roads. MoDOT says the snowfall, compounded by fiercely blowing winds, has made travel hazardous in portions of northwest Missouri. MoDOT suggests motorists wait until the snow stops and give the snowplow crews enough time to clear the roads and bridges.
Chris Cole works as a dispatcher at MoDOT’s St. Joseph office. He says the amount of snow that has fallen varies throughout the region, but says the average seems to be six inches. Cole says crews are working hard to clear the roadways.
“They’ve been working on it all night long. We have a priority of routes that we take care of. The major routes we get done first. After we get those cleaned up, then we try to hit the less traveled roads,” Cole says.
MoDOT suggests motorists should plan ahead before driving in winter weather. Drivers should allow for plenty of time to travel and adjust their speed to fit the road conditions, including avoiding the use of cruise control. Drivers should leave plenty of room between cars, keep an emergency travel kit in their vehicle and let someone know their travel plans.
MoDOT maintains a Traveler Information Map. It also has a toll-free number drivers can call for conditions: 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636). The map is updated continuously when bad weather hits and the toll-free line is available at all times.
Brent Martin interviews MoDOT Director of System Management, Don Hillis, on road conditions in northwest Missouri.