Due to persistent snowfall Tuesday and the closing of the Oklahoma Turnpike, the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Highway Patrol yesterday evening closed Interstate 44 west of Springfield for the night. This morning, the interstate remains closed.
Traffic on westbound I-44 backed up from Joplin because of the turnpike block, leading to the closure of the interstate to reduce the number of stranded vehicles and drivers, according to a news release.
Officials are unclear as to when westbound I-44 will reopen, but it could take until the weekend, the release said.
MoDOT and the highway patrol are encouraging drivers to use alternative routes or to find lodging in the Springfield area for the duration of the closing.
Following the announcement of the closure, an emergency shelter was established at Greater Ozarks Red Cross Chapter, 1545 N. West Bypass, to assist affected motorists, according to a release.
Shelters also were established last night along Interstate 70 from St. Louis to Kansas City after the roadway was shut down yesterday afternoon. I-70, however, has been reopened this morning, though the interstate remains mostly covered with hard-packed snow, according to MoDOT.
"We appreciate the cooperation we’ve seen from motorists,” Don Hillis, MoDOT director of system management, said in a news release. “Travel throughout the state has been lighter, which has helped us be able to get out there and do our job.
"We ask for the same consideration today, so we can work to get the roads clear and safe for travel.”
As of 9:50 a.m., Springfield-Branson National Airport's departures
showed improvement, with eight flights on time, one departed, one delayed and five canceled. link to:
As for arrivals
, eight flights were on time, one flight was delayed and five were canceled.
The schedules will be updated throughout the day.