Road crews: No-travel policy helped speed cleanup

Visibility was very low at times during Tuesday’s continual drizzle and occasional winds. Traffic did heed warnings about staying off the roads, and at times there was no traffic except for snow removal crews. Such as on this section of U.S. 54, north of Brazito.

Visibility was very low at times during Tuesday’s continual drizzle and occasional winds. Traffic did heed warnings about staying off the roads, and at times there was no traffic except for snow removal crews. Such as on this section of U.S. 54, north of Brazito.

A plea to stay off the streets and highways apparently helped road crews fighting the latest winter storm in Mid-Missouri.

MoDOT issued the no-travel advisory Monday in preparation for the storm that hit later that night and lasted into Tuesday morning.

“We appreciate drivers listening because it gave our personnel and equipment more room to keep roads clean,” said Travis Koestner, MoDOT assistant central district engineer. “This time, we had more accumulation in our western counties. It was a lot heavier snow this time, and we got a lot of snow in a short amount of time.”

Last week, the snow was lighter, but a great deal fell in a short amount of time.

State maintenance engineer Elizabeth Wright said earlier this week: “One of the biggest challenges (last week) came in the Columbia area, where an accident with a jackknifed tractor-trailer, compounded by multiple slide-offs and falling snow, caused traffic to back up in all directions at the I-70/U.S. 63 connector.”

That experience helped lead to Monday’s no-travel advisory.

Despite having to fight two major storms in a week, Loestner said, MoDOT still has around 50 percent of its supply level.

“These storms do cost us money to fight them and that means less money to spend when the weather is nice, but that’s all part of taking care of roads,” he said.

Koestner said MoDOT crews will be on cleanup detail at least through tonight.

Jefferson City Operations Division Director Britt Smith said streets were in good shape by Tuesday afternoon.

“Our main crews were going since midnight so we let them go around 3 p.m.,” he said. “We had a small crew to handle trouble spots overnight.”

Smith said because the track of the storm shifted, the snow started early.

“We tried to hold off bringing in the crews as long as we could,” he said. “Luckily, we did not have a lot of blowing snow.”

“The temperatures were a blessing,” said Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz. “Staying above freezing helped us on our salt supply.”

Benz and Smith said they were holding their breath to see how bad the next snow event will be. The forecast predicted a 1-3 inch snowfall this morning.

Additional:

Weather-related school closings, announcements

Area forecast, radar and advisories

MoDOT Traveler Information map

Jefferson City snow routes condition map

View reader-submitted snow photos

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