(KMOX file photo)

MoDOT Asking Drivers to Stay Home During Winter Storms

Gridlock, communication breakdowns contributed to Friday afternoon's headaches

January 15, 2019 - 1:35 pm

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Gridlock on St. Louis highways was not just a major headache for drivers, but also MoDOT plows.

Officials with MoDOT explained today that the pre-treatment that is laid down on local roads only lasts about a half-hour in high traffic areas, and is only effective for about a half-inch of snow.

This means trucks and plows have to keep working the roads, but Engineer Becky Allmeroth says once traffic started backing up, that meant salt and treatment had to stop.

"We have to get the plows dropped, we have to be able to get through there to push the snow off, and we have to be able to put more salt down. When everything became gridlocked, that's when we lost the ability to keep up with that storm."

Allmeroth admits that they needed a more "unified attack" to address gridlocked areas like I-44 near Antire Hill.

"In hindsight, what we'd do differently is that coordination and getting everyone on a conference call earlier and have a plan to attack this as a region. Everybody was spread extremely thin that night and we needed a more unified attack."

However, she feels this storm brought people together and road crews will be more prepared for future storms.

Allmeroth says you can help as well, including with this weekend's winter storm. 

"It really only takes one vehicle that's not equipped or one person that's not comfortable in these conditions to spin out in front of a group of semis and those semis have to stop and can't go again. If you don't feel comfortable, we ask that you PLEASE plan ahead and stay off the roads so we can do our work. We had everything cleaned up within 24 hours on those major roads. We just need to get that traffic out of the way."

For this weekend's winter storm and beyond, Allmeroth says MoDOT officials will be urging you to stay home and/or leave work earlier before these storms hit so crews can properly treat the roads.

You can listen to the entire briefing here: