SPRINGFIELD, Mo — With ice, snow and single digit temperatures in our forecast MODOT is advising drivers to stay off the roads the rest of this weekend while they work around the clock to try and keep the roads clear.
Ethan Luetjen is one of 45 crew members at MODOT in Springfield and he came into work at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
“Drizzle, a little bit of ice on some of the streets, trying to keep the interstate going,” he said is what his day mostly looked like.
Occasionally, he pulls over to the side of the road to make calls to emergency response.
“There are two vehicles stalled there in the middle of the ramp,” said Luetjen over the phone. “They call a tow truck or get the somewhere safe.”
On Saturday, he was on Route 44.
“There should be four of them on this route,” he said. “Normally, you stay on this route until you run out of salt, and you go back to get either fuel or salt.”
The region is expected to see the coldest temperatures we’ve seen in two years. And with temperatures falling the drizzle freezes.
“We prepare for this year round,” said Bob Becker, maintenance engineer at Southwest MODOT.
MODOT says ice is more difficult to treat than snow.
“With the snow, we can actually get the plow down and push it out the way,” said Luetjen. “But with the ice, if you don’t get it at the right time, it wants to stick.”
“We just put enough material down and it washes it away, and we got to put more down, and it’s a constant battle,” said Becker.
Because of dangerous road conditions and crews being out, MODOT advises if you don’t have to drive somewhere, stay home.
“Our first concern is safety,” said Becker. “We want ourselves to be safe and the traveling public.”
But if you are traveling, and see one of the trucks in your way…
“Our biggest concern is: just give us plenty of room. It’s a big truck, we got a big 14-foot plow on the front of it.”
Luetjen says the most difficult part of his job can sometimes be the drivers.
“Get traffic to understand that most time we are an inconvenience and on the way, but we are trying to make it safer for them, make sure they get to where they’re going,” he said.