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UPDATE: Police, MoDOT Prepare For Evening Commute After a Messy Morning

MoDOT crews were out early, but when traffic backed-up, crews got stuck and could not effectively treat roads. Now, police and road crews are preparing for the evening commute.

UPDATED: 4:00 p.m.- 

 officials said in news release Thursday afternoon, snow removal operations will be underway all evening and overnight. This news comes after a messy morning commute throughout St. Charles, St. Louis and Jefferson counties.

"We have full crews (204 trucks) throughout the St. Louis region focusing on re-treating every interstate and major route with salt, chemicals and beet juice before rush-hour. Chemicals have to be used with salt to be effective in these low 20's temperatures to break up any icy patches," MoDOT stated in the news release.

To check how traffic is moving this evening, click "Live Traffic" on the map above.

"MoDOT is re-plowing areas as needed with the wind gusts blowing some snow back on the roads. We will continue to have full crews working until all roads are mostly clear. Overnight, we will have crews monitor the roads for re-freeze and continue treating and plowing areas needed."

Despite the early efforts, roads were a mess this morning, causing a rush hour that lasted until around 11 a.m. Now police and road crews are preparing for the evening commute.

Ed Hassinger, MoDOT District Engineer for the St. Louis region tells Patch a major factor in the morning's issues was the amount of traffic on the roads.

"I know people are not happy with rush hour this morning, but really the issue this morning was the snow and ice came at just the right time. With the treatment process it has to be continual. Crews got the first hour to melt off and then rush hour hit and and crews couldn't get back on the roads quickly enough," Hassinger explained. "Rush hour hits, traffic gets backed up and our trucks are stuck in the same traffic as everyone else."

Hassinger said despite crews coming in at midnight, and more than 200 trucks running non-stop, when a few drivers began getting stuck or having accidents, it delayed the entire treatment process and caused more problems.

"With the snow removal process, you put salt down and it melts the snow, but as the snow melts, it dilutes the salt which becomes less effective. It (salt) doesn't melt any more snow, so you have to be continually making rounds," Hassinger tells Patch. "When we can't get that next round down, then everything turns to ice and that is what happened to us this morning on the interstates. Once you get behind you just can't recover and what we're doing now is recovering."

(Did you get stuck in Thursday morning's traffic? Tell us in the comment box below this article.)

Hassinger said it took until almost 11 a.m. for traffic to start moving on area roads. He said, it was essentially the same situation across St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties. He said it was "just kind of uniform across the metro area."

There were, however, a few problem spots this morning. Hassinger said Highway 40 around Clayton Road was one, and Highway 40 at the Maryville Center and Mason Road exits was another. 

MoDOT crews will continue working throughout the day with 200 trucks running Road crews are broken into two shifts, so it takes about 500 people to run trucks around the clock, according to MoDOT. 

"People still need to be careful. There is still ice on ramps and we are expecting snow squalls throughout the night," Hassinger warned. "We'll be out throughtout the day and possibly into the night, until we get the roads back to a dry conditions. Hopefulling things will get better this afternoon, at least that's what we're planning for."

Visit www.modot.gov or call MoDOT's customer service line at 314-275-1500 for current road closures.

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