“Major, major snowpack” is causing massive traffic troubles on interstates throughout the area.
By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star
Numerous stalled and abandoned vehicles were reported on virtually every major highway.
Several jackknifed semi trucks on westbound Interstate 70 at 7th Street in Kansas City, Kan., were reportedly backing up traffic to the state line just after 10 a.m.
Interstate 635 north of Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Kan., was a “parking lot,” police reported, with an estimated 200 vehicles stopped on the highway.
Traffic is a mess on nearly all the Missouri highways in the metro area, and some major roadways are closed, according to Steve Porter, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Porter said countless stalled vehicles are blocking interstates and ramps. Among the closures are westbound Interstate 470 to southbound Interstate 49 near the Three Trails Crossing in south Kansas City; Interstate 35 northbound, north of the split with Interstate 29 in Kansas City, North; and Missouri 210 between Missouri 291 and Interstate 70. Porter said snow plows are having trouble keeping ahead of the snow and maneuvering around so many stuck vehicles.
In Johnson County, the ramp from Interstate 35 to Santa Fe in Olathe was shut down about 8:30 a.m. with as many as 15 vehicles stuck.
Stalled and stuck semi trucks were reportedly blocking the 18th Street Expressway at Metropolitan Avenue in Kansas City, Kan.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said it will be towing abandoned vehicles on some stretches of area interstates including Interstate 70 from 18th Street to the Missouri state line; Interstate 435; Interstate 635 from Interstate 35 to the state line; and on Interstate 35 from Gardner Road to the state line.
Lenexa police were reporting that just before 10 a.m. the area around the intersection of Interstate 435 and Interstate 35 was virtually closed because of so many stalled vehicles.
In Independence, police have shut down northbound U.S. 291 at 39th Street because of stalled vehicles. Numerous vehicles also are stalled along Interstate 70 in Independence, police said.
Among other trouble spots:
• About 9:30 a.m., an injury accident involving a snow plow truck was reported at 134th Street and Kansas Avenue in western Wyandotte County. A plow driver reported that he suffered a gash to the head in the crash.
• Authorities in Gladstone reported the massive snowfall has made traveling through the city nearly impossible. Numerous vehicles including some patrol cars are reported struck at various intersections. The areas affected include Englewood and Broadway, 72nd Street and North Oak Trafficway, 68th Street and North Broadway and 58th Street and Antioch Road.
• A stalled semi-tractor trailer has forced authorities in Platte County to close U.S. 92 between U.S. 45 and the U.S. 92 spur in Tracy, Mo.
Platte County officials have declared a state of emergency and urge stay off the roads.
“First responders and road crews are working 24 hour operations that will continue until the winter storm event is over,” said Presiding Commissioner Jason Brown. “I urge citizens to only travel if necessary and to use caution as conditions are extremely hazardous and will continue to be so until this storm is over.”
The Star’s Glenn E. Rice and Lynn Horsley contributed to this report.