MoDOT warns Missourians of icy roads

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COLUMBIA - A wintry mix blanketed Missouri Friday night, but the Missouri Department of Transportations was working on the roads hours before it even arrived.

MoDOT Boone County Assistant Maintenance Supervisor Rich Skelton said the best way to stay safe during storms like these is to avoid driving if possible. If you need to drive, go slowly.

"With ice and snow that's coming, [we] always advise them to slow down and give plenty of time, if you don't have to get out and travel don't do so," Skelton said. "If you see our snow plows out there, slow down and give us plenty of room to work. Don't weave in and out of plows, leave plenty of time for braking and don't speed."

According to Skelton, all 27 employees and have been called in Friday and Saturday to help, and MoDOT will use 25 of the branch's 28 snow removal vehicles.

Crew members began preparing roadways since 1:00 p.m. Friday with a combination of salt, sand and beet juice.

Skelton explained beet juice helps lower the temperature of the freezing point on the road, which prevents snow from sticking and create slick spots.

"It helps bring the temperature down and bring the freezing point even lower, so the snow will slush up and we will be able to plow it off," Skelton said.

He said the mixture is created in the Jefferson City MoDOT branch and consists of 70 percent salt brine and 30 percent beet juice. Crews hauled the beet juice from the state's capitol to MoDOT maintenance buildings around Mid-Missouri, including Boone County. Five gallons of beet juice is added per 100 pounds of the salt and sand. A computer system within the truck tells the operator how much of their truck's load they should put out.

The department said in a news release crews target the roads that drivers use the most.

"As soon as possible after a storm ends, our goal is to return highest traveled routes to mostly clear conditions and to plow and treat the critical areas of hills, curves and intersections on all other routes."

Skelton is not worried about the impact of this storm.

"We'll have the roads cleared as quick as we can, and it shouldn't take us long at all," he said. "Everyone drive safe, give us the time and room to work and we'll all be ok."