Interstate 64 closed during a recent ice storm in St. Charles County (MoDOT)
Matt Sczesny/ KMOV
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – MoDOT and the Missouri Highway Patrol are urging drivers to stay off the roads as winter weather moves into the area Friday.
During a press conference Thursday, MoDOT officials said travel is expected to be hazardous throughout the weekend and they are using every tool available to them.
“Ice is one of the most challenging events that we have to deal with so we have people pretreating right now all of the roads in the district. We did have a big enough break we should get everything pretreated in our district, but that really does get eaten up very quickly when it starts to ice,” MoDOT District Maintenance Engineer Mark Croarkin said.
Croarkin said limited MoDOT crews will be out making sure pretreatment is everywhere Thursday night. He also said they will be staffing up Friday morning at 7 a.m. in preparation for the winter weather to enter the region.
“This storm that is being predicted is much greater in comparison to what we’ve seen so far this year. So, we cannot urge you enough to stay off the roadways if at all possible,” said Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Juston Wheetley.
Corporal Wheetley said the highway patrol will be with MoDOT monitoring cameras and live feeds, but urged people to stay off the roads.
“If you don’t have to be out there, stay at home,” said Corporal Wheetley.
Last time the highway patrol urged motorists to stay off the roadways, Corporal Wheetley said troopers responded to thousands of calls.
“Despite our pleas for motorists to stay off the roadways, this last one we had the highway patrol still responded to thousands of calls, weather related, hundreds of traffic crashes, numerous injuries involving these crashes, and even fatalities,” Corporal Wheetley said. “If you find yourself out know that we don’t have some kind of magical tires that allow us to get to where you’re at safely any more than what you have.”
Phil Link with AAA also urged people to stay off the roads if they could, but said anyone going out in the winter weather should make sure their vehicle is prepared.
“If you need to go out make sure your vehicle is prepared. We’re finding a lot of vehicles that have poor tires, they have no traction, ice is not going to make a big difference there, but you’ve got minor things like windshield wipers, windshield washer fluid, once it starts to freeze up and you’ve not changed and put the right solution in there and you’ve got water, the system’s not gonna work. That’s gonna pose a problem that’s going to reduce your visibility,” Link said.
Link also said anyone traveling to make sure to take a phone charger so they can call for help if they get stranded.