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MoDOT, IDOT close roads due to accidents, icy conditions

11:33 AM, Jan 12, 2012   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) - Falling snow during the morning rush in the St. Louis-area caused visibility issues and slow downs for drivers in both Illinois and Missouri.

Illinois State Police report multiple crashes Thursday morning. Troopers say at least one of those did involve injuries.  Many of the other calls are for cars that have slid off the roadway and into a ditch or median.

Joe Monroe from Illinois Department of Transportation said the warm temperatures the past few days are making conditions worse.  The initial snow melted because of the warm roads, then blowing snow froze on top of it.  He said they are getting the most complaints from drivers about the conditions of intersections and ramps.

IDOT has 160-180 trucks treating the roads.

Kara Price of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) said they have 200 trucks out treating the roads.  Crews are concentrating on the interstates first because they are the most heavily traveled.

Price said the challenge is that the pavement temperature was right at freezing, so it created a lot of black ice on bridges, overpasses and ramps.  The roads may just look wet to drivers, but they need to beware of slick spots.

Westbound I-64 was closed at Clayton Warson due to ice earlier, but one lane was re-opened to commuters by 9 a.m.  The entire roadway was cleared by 10:25 a.m. 

Eastbound I-44 at Jamieson had to be closed prior to 9 a.m. due to icy road conditions, according to MoDOT.  The roadway was reopened by 9:45 a.m.

Accidents also temporarily closed I-70 westbound at Shreve, I-70 westbound at Riverview, the northbound I-55 ramp to northbound I-270, and I-64 westbound at Timberlake Manor in Chesterfield.  All lanes have since reopened.

Icy roads have forced MoDOT to go back and forth between closing and reopening roads throughout the morning.  MoDOT said westbound I-64 had been closed at Lindbergh for some time, but were only able to reopen the interstate for a short time before closing it down again due to icy conditions.

I-44 at Berry was opened shortly after 12:15 p.m. after being closed due to slick spots.  It had been closed around 11:30 a.m.

The City of St. Louis Streets Department has been preparing for this winter blast since Wednesday afternoon when they pretreated the streets. 

St. Louis City Streets Director Todd Waeltermann said the problem was that the pavement froze around 5:30 a.m. Thursday creating icy conditions. Downtown streets were in better shape because the pavement is warmer.  The further you drive outside downtown, the more spotty conditions you encounter.

For more information on road conditions in Missouri call 1-888-275-6636.  In Illinois, call 1-800-452-4368 for updates on road conditions.

Illinois State Police offers some advice for driving in winter weather.

-Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and that your car has a full tank of gas.

-Increase your following distance behind other vehichles.

-SUVs and trucks are NOT immune to sliding.

-Allow more time to get to your destination.

-Reduce your speed.

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