ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- MoDOT is painting a dire picture of just how bad highway conditions may become Thursday when ice starts coating surfaces. Becky Allmeroth is a MoDOT Maintenance Engineer. Allmeroth said, “We are expecting tomorrow to have very rapidly changing and very rapidly deteriorating conditions.”
MoDOT has been pre-treating roads for two days. Officials warn when the storm arrives it will only take 30 minutes to an hour for highway conditions to go downhill. Allmeroth said, “Once it hits it’s going to be intense and its going to hit pretty severe and the road conditions are going to change very rapidly.”
MoDOT and the Missouri Highway Patrol would rather deal with a foot of snow than a half inch of ice. Motorists can get some traction in snow, but not with ice. MoDOT is warning drivers that they may not be able to get to them if they slide off the road, motorists may have to abandon their vehicles.
Sgt. Al Nothum a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol talked about the last storm that packed a lot of ice, “The last time we had this take place a couple years ago we had people stranded for 8 hours on highways and roadway, secondary roadways because everything was so glazed over MoDOT, law enforcement could not ever get there.”
Two-hundred MoDOT trucks and 450 employees will be working 12 hour shifts during the storm. They’re using salt brine and 15,000 gallons of beet juice, which makes the bring work even harder and melts ice and snow at a lower temperature. Allmeroth said, “It actually thickens up the salt brine so when you add the beet juice to it, it sticks to the pavement better and stays higher up on the pavement. So if we pre-treat with it, it will last a week if we add the beet juice into it, as opposed to a couple days
MoDOT and the Missouri Highway Patrol is advising folks to stay at home if they can.