The head of the Missouri Department of Transportation's St. Louis district says he and other officials will take a very hard look at snow removal efforts following a tough commute in the region Thursday morning.
An one point, portions of several interstates were closed because of icy conditions and numerous accidents. The Missouri State Highway Patrol had responded to 240 crashes by 9 a.m., including a fatal wreck in Jefferson County that killed 41-year-old Newton Aldrige of Bloomsdale, Mo. and seriously injured his 30-year-old female passenger, Christine Newton.
District engineer Ed Hassinger says MoDOT crews put down a first round of treatment just as the snow started.
"And the road temperatures were fairly warm, so it melted it fairly quickly," Hassinger said. "As the temperature dropped, it turned to ice, and by that time, rush hour traffic had gotten on it, and our trucks got stuck in the traffic and couldn't get another treatment of salt down, and things just kind of snowballed from there," he said.
Hassinger says the department will look at pre-treating roads earlier (the city streets department was spraying salt brine last night) but says it's not as effective on interstates.
"One of the problems we have with pre-treating is that with 60-mile-an-hour traffic, you can't get stuff to stay on the road like you can on a subdivision street," he said.
Utility work and lane closures planned for Thursday night on the Blanchette Bridge have also been postponed due to the weather and will resume Jan. 15.