COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Drivers on the Interstate 70 Missouri River bridge in Rocheport should take extra caution during winter weather, fire officials say.
Gale Blomenkamp, the Assistant Chief/MPIO for the Boone County Fire Protection District, said the Missouri River bridge in Rocheport was like an ice rink this morning.
Blomenkamp said people need to be awake and alert while driving, and slow down to leave space between cars.
"People just drive too fast on these roads when it's slick, and the elevated surfaces are always the worst," Blomenkamp said. "The Missouri River bridge is a long stretch of elevated surface."
The county line between Boone and Cooper is in the middle of the bridge. According to Blomenkamp, the two counties' fire agencies have a plan in place for when a crash happens on or near the bridge.
"It's been a long-standing, automatic agreement," Blomenkamp said. "When there's a wreck on the bridge itself, or the approaches coming into it, they'll respond from the west (and) we'll respond from the east side."
Blomenkamp described crashes like the one this morning as causing a funnel. He said it can be very difficult for emergency responders to get to the crash as the traffic backs up and there is no shoulder on the bridge for cars to get out of the way.
Adam Pulley, the communications manager for the Central District of the Missouri Department of Transportation, said crews typically treat bridges and overpasses first. They also have electronic message boards periodically along interstates.
"During winter events those usually say road conditions have changed, slow down, be alert, trying to make sure that message is every few miles," Pulley said.
There are no signs ahead of the entrances to the Missouri River bridge to warn drivers of icy or slick roads. However, Pulley said they will evaluate whether safety improvements are necessary.
"We want to find those innovative ways to make sure it grabs that attention," Pulley said.