Road conditions in Kansas City improving, but plenty of work left to do after crippling snow storm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Road conditions in Kansas and Missouri were improving Friday, but crews planned to continue efforts to clear highways and byways into the weekend.

Whiteout conditions through the day Thursday closed some roads and shut down Kansas City International Airport.

According to a statement from the city of Kansas City, all arterial routes and 75 percent of residential routes have had at least one pass by snow plows, with crews working overnight and on Saturday to completely clear the roads.

Sean Demory, a spokesman with the city's Public Works department, said 65 plow trucks worked from 6 a.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Thursday to clear about 50% of the snow from residential streets.  Demory said they extended plow drivers an hour past their normal schedule.

Plow trucks returned at 6 a.m. Friday to clear the remaining snow-packed residential streets.

Kansas City Police said from 6 a.m. Thursday until 7 a.m. Friday they responded to 282 stranded drivers, 52 non-injury crashes, 11 injury crashes and 32 abandoned vehicles.

Across the state line, the Kansas Highway Patrol says its officers took more than 1,000 calls on Thursday, but only 15 were for accidents with injuries and no weather-related fatalities were reported.

"It's really great news that the Patrol did not have to work any fatal crashes with this weather, and that 85% of our calls were motorist-assist related," KHP Lt. Joshua Kellerman said. "With the adverse conditions, it easily could have been much worse."

Traveler information maps on the MoDOT and KDOT websites listed partially to entirely snow-covered roads for much of the Kansas City region Friday evening.

"While there is still much work to be done, motorists should notice rapidly improving conditions," said Beth Wright, Missouri Department of Transportation state maintenance engineer.

Drivers should take caution, even on highways that appear mostly clear, officials warn, as ramps and bridges may be in worse condition than other parts of the roadway.

Road crews in both states said they would keep working until the roads are clear, no matter how long it takes.

"We will stay with it until we can restore state routes to near-normal conditions," Wright said. "I would encourage everyone to still use caution, give our snow plows plenty of room, and check on road conditions before you travel."

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