ST. LOUIS – Round one of our major St. Louis snow is over but round two could come this weekend. The Missouri Department of Transportation is watching the incoming and also learning from what happened last weekend – both the good and the bad.
Calling it once or twice event-in-a-century storm, a MoDOT spokesperson said they did a good job clearing roads. But with steady snow falling, highways packed with rush hour traffic, and MoDOT trucks unable to move quickly, many motorists were trapped in traffic for six-plus hours.
“When you’re getting two inches of snow an hour and the recycle time on the interstate is two hours … by the time (the plows) get back, there would be four inches of snow there,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT chief of safety operations.
MoDOT had over 200 trucks and 400 operators working. However, there were too many pedestrian vehicles on the road.
Once the roads were cleared of traffic, MoDOT cleared the roadways of snow in just a few hours. Allmeroth said the one thing MoDOT learned from this storm was to be more aggressive in its pre-storm messages.
“When we say ‘stay home, limit travel, non-essential travel,’ please don’t go if you don’t have to, we’re going to push that message a lot stronger,” she said.
MoDOT crews have continues to work 24-7. And with another possible snowstorm—including several inches of snow this weekend—they won’t stop. Crews are debriefing and getting ready again
“We have not made our final decision on how we’re going to attack this storm because we want to get closer and see how the forecast may fluctuate, so we’re hesitant,” said Tom Blair, MoDOT district engineer.
MoDOT is getting all its salt in place, fixing trucks, and getting new blades on vehicles as they get closer to the weekend.
MoDOT is also reminding drivers to please be prepared. During car checks they conducted last weekend, most people didn’t have food, water, blankets, and full tanks of gas when they got stuck.
Crews will also be busy Tuesday night dealing with freezing drizzle.