Traffic snarls in first serious storm of winter

A MoDOT snowplow operator pulling a second plow makes his way toward U.S. 54 to clean both lanes of the highway in one pass. City, county and state crews were working rapidly Monday to try to keep up with the morning’s rapid snowfall.

A MoDOT snowplow operator pulling a second plow makes his way toward U.S. 54 to clean both lanes of the highway in one pass. City, county and state crews were working rapidly Monday to try to keep up with the morning’s rapid snowfall. Photo by Julie Smith.

A winter storm that went from New Year’s Eve into early New Year’s Day left between 2-3 inches of snow in most parts of Central Missouri.

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A snowplow driver makes a pass on Tower Drive as Jefferson City Streets Department crews made steady progress while cleaning the city’s roadways Monday during the heavy snowfall.

A light snow/rain mix began early Monday and conditions continued to deteriorate as the morning progressed.

The effects of the storm began to be felt after 9 a.m. when accident reports started to roll in. Most were slide-offs and non-injury, but many caused streets to be blocked, forcing some closures to allow tow trucks to haul vehicles out.

The city’s bus service, JeffTran, was temporarily suspended from just before 10:30 a.m. to noon Monday because of deteriorating road conditions.

Just before 11:30 a.m., pursuant to the provisions of city code, Interim Jefferson City Police Chief Doug Shoemaker declared a snow emergency within the city limits after conferring with other officials and City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus.

This meant no one could stop, stand, park, or abandon a vehicle which obstructed or impeded traffic on a snow route. Vehicles in violation of this were considered an abandoned vehicle and towed to an alternate location.

The declaration was in effect from 1:30 p.m. Monday until noon on Tuesday.

By Monday afternoon, the heaviest snow had stopped and road crews were able to get out to clear and treat roadways.

Jefferson City Operations Director Britt Smith said this was the third time this winter they’ve been called out to clear streets.

“This was the first time in a while that we had to have crews out working on New Year’s,” he said. “We had crews in all night.”

“We got lucky that it was not as cold as had been forecast overnight, but we did a re-check early Tuesday morning to make sure to hit any trouble spots,” said Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz.

Jefferson City officials did remind residents that trash and recycling collection for Monday was delayed until Monday, Jan. 7, due to the snow.

Also, trash and recycling collection for Tuesday was not made because of the holiday and was to be picked up today.

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