I-70 reopens across Missouri

Transportation officials reopened Interstate 70 across Missouri at 6:30 a.m. today after it had been closed because of the blizzard and heavy snow conditions in central and eastern Missouri.

Although the highway has reopened, Zeller cautioned that it is still snow-packed, especially in the middle of the state.

“The wind is still blowing, so we are not out of the weather event,” Zeller said. “Will I-70 is passable; some of the minor, less traveled roads are still impassible.”

The transportation department is still advising only necessary travel.

Transportation officials closed I-70 at Interstate 470 in eastern Jackson County all the way to St. Louis about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The road was impassible because of blowing snow.

“The biggest problem was with the weather conditions in central and eastern part of the state,” said Warren Zeller, district bridge engineer for the transportation department.

The decision to close the highway in the Kansas City area was made to allow traffic to exit at a place where motorists could find services, Zeller said. Transportation officials worried about drivers getting stranded or involved in crashes.

The transportation department partnered with the Missouri Highway Patrol and the National Guard to make sure that no one was stranded overnight on the closed highway.

“We didn’t want to leave anyone out there overnight,” Zeller said.

It will take a while before I-70 returns to normal. There is a large queue of trucks waiting to get through, including some that have been staged over on the Kansas side of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

“They are the first ones in the queue,” Zeller said. “There will be a lot of traffic that will be moving relatively slowly.”

Meanwhile, highways throughout the Kansas City area are snow or iced covered. Traffic is moving along pretty good considering the conditions, Zeller said.

Although the highways have been plowed, motorists should use caution when exiting and entering the highways. Road crews have been concentrating on the roads and now are moving onto clearing the ramps.