ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – The question on many minds, will commuters be ready for Thursday mornings expected snowfall. Road crews have been busy getting ready to prep streets and highways. But they have to wait for the flakes to fall. MoDOT has already begun monitoring traffic conditions.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is gearing up Wednesday night and will have around 200 trucks in Metro East District ready and available if needed to cover 11-counties.
IDOT salt domes across the state are packed with tons of salt and the trucks are ready to plow some 16,000 miles of roads in Illinois.
Illinois State Police (ISP) officials statewide are issuing snow travel advisories and are urging motorists to plan ahead and take the necessary safety precautions while traveling on interstates and state roads. Drifting snow, wet and icy road conditions, and freezing cold temperatures may disrupt travel and motorists should allow extra time when making travel plans.
Winter driving incidents are preventable. Statewide, ISP handled more than 1,200 calls for service and motorist assists during the last three-day storm (2014). Drivers should plan accordingly and make safety a priority by driving at a safe speed, allowing plenty of distance from other vehicles to safely maneuver, ensuring vehicle lights are functioning properly, watching for snow removal equipment, and exiting the road to a safe location if driving conditions become too hazardous.
District Eleven Interim Commander, Lieutenant Timothy Tyler stated, “when crashes occur during extreme weather conditions, we encourage motorists to exchange insurance and driver information to keep motorists safe and the roads clear, unless medical attention is required.” Motorists can file crash reports at the nearest ISP District within 10 days.
Across the river in Missouri, MoDOT crews have been monitoring the roads and will be out early Wednesday night preparing before the storm moves in from Northwest Missouri to Southwest Missouri. Officials say with the lower temperatures in the teens, it will make the chemicals not as effective and the heaviest band of snowfall is expected to hit during the peak of Thursday morning rush hour and advise motorist to postpone travel during that time.
MoDOT says motorists should avoid travel if possible in Missouri late Wednesday night and Thursday due to incoming accumulating snow and bitterly cold temperatures. Travel on Missouri’s roads should be restricted to necessary trips only especially Thursday morning. Morning rush hour commutes will be impacted by the winter weather across most of Missouri.
“MoDOT crews will be out early tonight preparing before the storm moves in from northwest Missouri to southeast Missouri, but lower temperatures in the teens will make the chemicals not as effective,” said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Becky Allmeroth. “The heaviest band of snowfall is expected to hit during the peak of Thursday morning rush hour, and we advise motorists to postpone travel during that time.”
If a section of highway is shut down for extended periods, motorists should heed the warnings on the digital signs and exit the highway at the next available exit. To check road conditions including winter weather conditions and traffic speeds, please check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at http://traveler.modot.org/map/. The map is also available as a free app on iTunes and Google play listed as MoDOT Traveler Information.
If you have to travel, please use proper winter safety precautions and make sure you have a full tank of gas, extra blankets and gloves and provisions like water and snacks. Please wear your seat belt and don’t drive distracted. If you encounter car troubles or are involved in a crash, please remain in your vehicle.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis City Street Department is also getting a jump start by pre- treating the roads. The city starting treating the roads with Brine early Wednesday morning and will put another layer on it Wednesday night. Crews on both sides of the river say they will be on stand-by and ready to begin plowing as soon as there is snow on the roads.
Winter weather safety tips to consider:
- Anticipate reduced visibility and watch for black ice when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and curves.
- Avoid abrupt steering and braking and avoid tailgating by keeping a safe distance between vehicles.
- Allow enough time for travel and advise others of travel itineraries.
- Avoid unnecessary and sudden lane changes.
- Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
- Always wear a safety belt and keep a charged cell phone handy.