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MoDOT urges caution ahead of Saturday’s snowfall

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:52 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 12:20 PM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Accumulating snow is forecast for much of Missouri Friday evening beginning in the northwestern part of the state and moving southeast overnight continuing through Saturday.

The Missouri Department of Transportation urges people to avoid travel if possible. If you must travel Friday night or Saturday, use extra caution, anticipate slower travel times and consult the Traveler Information Map for road conditions.

“The forecast is calling for a wet, heavy snow accumulating on roads throughout the day Saturday,” said Natalie Roark, MoDOT state maintenance director. “The heavier the snow, the more difficult it is to clear. Motorists should be prepared for delays or--if possible--should stay off the roads during periods of heavy snowfall to give our crews a chance to work.”

All available crews will be out across the state working 12-hour shifts, but staffing is short across the state due to turnover and sickness. State-wide, the department is still down by several hundred employees, stemming from turnover and loss of staff in 2021.

“And that’s why it’s so important that we spread out who we do have appropriately so that we can provide the best coverage that we can,” explains MoDot Engineer Steve Campbell.

Campbell explains the full rollout of a new tool is making reallocating resources easier. The department has rolled GPS trackers for every one of the roughly 3500 winter weather trucks in the state. The system helps dispatchers keep track of what roads crews have cleared, and which roads need to be cleared next.

“We have a certain number of miles that we try to balance across all of the trucks, and then we have to make it so we have drivers for all of the trucks,” explains Campbell. “When you have technology like that, you can see if all of that effort to get you to where you need to be is actually working.”

“It may take crews longer to return roads to a mostly clear status after the storm ends Saturday,” Roark said.

Should you be involved in a minor crash or slide off the road, remain in your vehicle with the seat belt buckled. Equip your vehicle with a winter weather emergency kit before you travel in winter weather. Include any necessary medications, a phone charger, a blanket, bottled water, nonperishable foods, and a flashlight. For more items to include in a winter weather emergency kit, visit modot.org/winter.

Check current Missouri road conditions on the Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org, or through MoDOT’s smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android phones. You can also find road conditions and warnings by following MoDOT on Facebook and Twitter or by calling 888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636) to speak with a customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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