Treacherous driving conditions leave interstate traffic at stand - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Treacherous driving conditions leave interstate traffic at standstill

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

Heavy snow piled up on area interstates and roads, turning them into virtual parking lots Thursday.

Motorists are asked to avoid travel.

Overland Park snow boss Brian Hutchsion said this was one of the worst snow storms he's seen.

He said the timing of this storm and how quickly the snow fell "put it at number one so far in Overland Park in my eyes."

The Bond Bridge north of downtown Kansas City was closed for a time. An ambulance en route to a crash on the bridge had a tough time.

Sections of Interstate 70 in western Kansas are closed.

Roads in Kansas and Missouri are snow packed and travel condition is discouraged. If you must hit the roads, have good tires or chains.

Driving conditions are dangerous as hundreds of stuck vehicles and semis litter Kansas City area highways. Officials say abandoned vehicles are making it difficult for snow plows and others. Some vehicles have been abandoned in intersections.

Some stalled motorists got out of their vehicles, creating dire situations for passing vehicles.

Officials advise to never get out of your vehicle if your vehicle becomes disabled or is involved in an accident.

Some stalled vehicles now are surrounded by piles of snow pushed up by plows.

No major injures have been reported from the numerous crashes. Situations were so dire that tow companies were flooded with calls and having difficulty responding. Tow companies are flooded with calls.

Some motorists pulled off underneath interstate overpasses to get the thick snow and ice off their vehicles. As thick snow fell rapidly Thursday morning, white-out conditions prevailed.

Semis became stuck on highways as well as on and off ramps to highways. Some were stuck for hours. This created problems for other motorists, leading to highways that were virtually closed and inaccessible ramps. Some motorists had to navigate around stuck big rigs on hills on Highway 291 near 39th Street in Independence.

One motorist drove the wrong way on Interstate 35 to get back to an exit ramp because of stalled vehicles.

SUVs plowing through the heavy snow saw it splash up to their windshields. Some motorists drove too close to other drivers or too fast and they led them to spin out of control. Area motorists became stuck when they had to stop on ramps or streets.

KCTV5 news crews weren't immune from the bad conditions with numerous reporters and photographers getting stuck and needing assistance from co-workers.

Scanners were filled with reports of officers responding to problems on roads and requests for snow plows.

Officials with the area Transportation Authority had touted their services as a way to get around, but announced that they will be shutting down at 1 p.m. because of the bad conditions. ATA will resume services Friday morning.

Random acts of kindness were prevalent across the area. Some folks helped pull out a stuck KCTV5 live truck.

A federal government employee was on an ATA bus that got stuck on a drainage grate. She was frustrated and unsure about how to get home. She said the Hotel Phillips saw her near tears and is providing her a room.

Ed Ruff used a rope and his truck to free stranded drivers off Shawnee Mission Parkway.

Ruff said he was unhappy with offices that demanded employees, like his sister, go to work this morning.

"That's the worst mistake in the world. They've been telling us over a foot of snow for a week now," he said, adding instead companies should have told employees to stay home.

Drivers said the lack of traction and the ice underneath the snow helped create such hazardous conditions. Drivers said practice patience and going slow was the best advice.

Share snow photos by emailing them to yourphotos@kctv5.com and share your account on KCTV5's Facebook page. Go to https://www.facebook.com/KCTV5

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