Snow marches in during Thursday evening peak

Posted: 2013/02/22 in accident, Weather

Mother Nature returned with heavy sleet and snow late on Thursday morning, turning much of the hilly mainline on the Missouri side of the river into a quagmire.  Police scanners reported a steady steam of issues on the section of 270 up in North County, especially on the segments that got the hills.  The area between Route 367 and Lilac was very brutal, especially as the afternoon peak started.

270at367at1605

Eastbound traffic is facing the camera and is using just two lanes as the far right lane is impassable as of 16:05.  Westbound traffic, which is congested at this same time frame under normal circumstances, is virtually deserted.  The eastbound traffic is barely moving as they have trouble getting up the hill leading to the Bellefontaine exit.

Within the next half hour, @StLouisTraffic tweeted this advisory.

Around the same time, the advisory speed limit was set to 25 MPH.  MoDOT cameras at Riverview was facing towards the river bridge but was ice covered, making it difficult to determine whether traffic going towards the bridge was moving or at a standstill.  All the IDOT cameras were down, along with the MoDOT cameras at Lilac and Bellefontaine.  People posting on the Facebook feeds on the local TV stations and the handful of tweets that came out confirmed that the entire section of 270 in North County going into Illinois was horrible.

It will be at least 20 minutes before traffic starts moving towards the river bridge following that @StLouisTraffic tweet.

Traffic at 17:04.

Traffic at 17:04.

While it appears the westbound traffic is moving at a slow pace, the eastbound traffic is non-existent. Under normal circumstances the eastbound traffic is very heavy at this area at this time of the day. For several minutes only a handful of vehicles were heading east, as it turned out the closure at Bellefontaine was a 2 vehicle accident that blocked the mainline lanes.    One eastbound lane will reopen by 17:30, but it will not fully clear for another hour.  MoDOT set an advisory speed of 25 MPH during the height of the storm.

The snow tapered off shortly after sunset and the temperatures that were in the upper 20s during the day start to increase.  The Friday morning drive was still dicey but the roads were in better shape than the day before.  Two minor incidents were reported at the Lilac exit during the morning peak and the advisory speed was lifted.  The ramps and shoulders remain icy at this time, and people need to take care during the evening peak.

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