Truck Drivers Pull Over Early to Avoid Interstate 70
BOONE COUNTY - Truck driver Matt Slater made it 431 miles on his trek from Nashville to Denver before calling it a day at the Midway Truck Stop on Interstate 70.
"In St. Louis, it started turning bad, and then it just kind of went downhill from there," Slater said.
Slater said hills caused a majority of the problems along I-70 in Missouri. He said when a truck has to come to a complete stop, especially on an uphill slope, it's hard for the driver to get the vehicle started again. He experienced that on the I-70 connector to Highway 63.
"It's ice-covered under the snow," Slater said. "So we're just trying to stay in our lane and just trying to get down the road."
Trucks also had issues in Midway's parking lot itself. Two trucks needed the help of tow trucks to get out of snow banks and find parking.
At 4 p.m., many truck drivers at Midway admitted that the truck stop's lot looked as if it was nighttime with how full it was. One driver said he pulled over at noon to avoid dealing with the poor road conditions.
MoDOT spokeswoman Sally Oxenhandler said crews would work through the night on major roadways, such as I-70 and Highway 63. Trucks would do a significant amount of plowing, and maintenance crews would decide what other treatments, like salt or sand, the roads need. Oxenhandler did not believe crews would reach lettered routes by sunrise. She recommended using tire chains if available.
Some truck drivers said they would get an early start Wednesday to make up for lost time, meaning drivers using I-70 on their morning commute may be side-by-side with the 18-wheelers on the snowy roads. Slater urges drivers to give trucks a wide berth when alongside them in snowy conditions.
"You don't want to sit on their side," Slater said. "Because they might start drifting into your lane. So if you got to go around one, go around one and go on with yourself."