Interstate 70, the main roadway across the state of Missouri, has been closed by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

MoDOT had closed I-70 in mid-Missouri earlier in the day and even pulled its snowplows off the interstate due to whiteout conditions. The closing only affected I-70 in Cooper, Boone and Callaway until later in the afternoon when the decision was made to close the entire interstate from St. Louis to Kansas City. MoDOT says the blizzard has made I-70 impassable. MoDOT states in a news release that the action will keep motorists from becoming stranded on the interstate. MoDOT says it will continue to plow statewide as conditions allow.

In addition, MoDOT and the State Highway Patrol is diverting motorists off I-44 at Springfield, because Oklahoma’s decision to close I-44 has backed up traffic and blocked exits closer to the Oklahoma state line. MoDOT reports that road conditions throughout Missouri are poor and deteriorating rapidly. Commercial trucks and other vehicles are being asked to get off the roads and seek shelter, not to park on the shoulders and disrupt plowing.

“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.”

Patrol Superintendent Ronald Replogle continues to strongly urge citizens to stay off the roads. He discourages driving in this type of hazardous weather conditions.

For more information, click on this link: MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map. Travelers can also call MoDOT’s toll-free number, 888-275-6636, to get road condition information. Call 211 for shelter information.

AUDIO: Bob Priddy interviews MoDOT’s Jorma Duran [7 min MP3]