Truckers and motorists using I-44 in south-central Missouri west of Rolla were forced to use alternate routes on Wednesday, Aug. 7, after flooding closed part of the interstate at mile marker 172. The Missouri Department of Transportation has also closed other highways due to flooding of the Gasconade River.
MoDOT spokesman Matt Hiebert said crews would evaluate road and bridge conditions at the I-44 river crossing once the floodwaters subside. He estimated that the closure would last at least six hours on Wednesday but possibly longer due to the rain forecast.
“We’re going to have to go in there and inspect the bridge and the highway and make sure things are safe for travelers after that,” Hiebert told “Land Line Now.”
Hiebert urged truckers to plan ahead and avoid the area altogether if they can.
“Don’t wait until the last minute. Get off the interstate as quick as you can,” he said Wednesday. “Look at Interstate 70 to the north, look at U.S. 50, look at U.S. 60, but try to find a way around Interstate 44 because it’s going to be closed for several hours to come.”
MoDOT maintains an up-to-date map of road conditions on its website, www.modot.org.
U.S. 63 south of Vienna in Maries County was also closed for at least six hours Wednesday. The detour for southbound U.S. 63 traffic was listed as U.S. 50 to Route 28, and vice versa for northbound traffic.
The area braced for more rain on Wednesday.
“If that rain does fall, expect more routes to close, including U.S. 50 at Mt. Sterling in Gasconade County. Also expect flash flooding on other central Missouri highways,” MoDOT Motor Carrier Services stated in a press release.
“Commercial drivers are advised to avoid Route AW in Texas County. Though the route appears on GPS maps, it is closed to commercial traffic. The highway serves the Ft. Leonard Wood Army Base. Military Police will bar entrance to any CMV that attempts to use this route.”
Northern Arkansas was not reporting any road closures due to weather as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Land Line Now” Staff Reporter Reed Black contributed to this story.
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