The Missouri Department of Transportation and the state's Highway
Patrol are reviewing what led up to a huge, day-long traffic jam on eastbound Interstate
70 Friday, Dec. 1, in hopes of avoiding any repeats in the future.
MoDOT Director of Operations Don Hillis told "Land Line Now"
on XM Satellite Radio that at one point, cars and trucks were backed up for 30
miles in the eastbound lanes, after icy conditions and blowing snow led to
numerous accidents and jack-knifed trucks.
Hillis said a big part of the problem was that blowing snow
prevented the plows from clearing the highway.
"During the period where we were getting the blowing snow,
visibility was zero," Hillis said. "With a visibility of zero, we had to stop plowing.
At one point in one area of I-70, half the trucks that we had dedicated to the
effort had run off in the ditch."
Hill said he doesn't know why MoDOT didn't simply shut down
the eastbound lanes long before the traffic backed up for 30 miles, but that
the question is one officials will try to answer during their review.
The overall death toll from the storm and frigid conditions
rose to 23 on Monday. According to The Associated Press, causes
of death included traffic accidents, fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and
More than a quarter of a million customers were still
without power in Missouri and Illinois this morning.
- By Reed Black, staff writer