Flooding closed Interstate 44 at mile marker 172 near the city of Jerome early Wednesday morning. As of Wednesday night it was still closed, but MoDOT officials say it could reopen Thursday morning.
In addition, Missouri Route 63 is now closed in two locations - south of Vienna in Maries County and at Westphalia in Osage County - further complicating detour routes.
Motorists are encouraged to use U.S. 60, I-70 or U.S. 36 as alternate routes. This is especially important for commercial motor vehicle traffic approaching Missouri from other states.
Motorists traveling on Route 63 to destinations south of Vienna should take U.S. 50 to Route 28 to U.S. 63. Those traveling to areas north of Vienna should use Routes U and E to get around the closure.
National Weather Service predictions indicate water will overtake the lanes of U.S. 50 at Mount Sterling by mid-morning on Thursday, making travel in the area even more difficult.
“We don’t know for certain when flooded roadways will reopen or what additional flooding might occur,” said Travis Koestner, assistant district engineer of MoDOT’s Central District. “We appreciate motorists' patience as we monitor these roadways and ask motorists not to drive around barricades or attempt to drive through water.”
When the water recedes, MoDOT will inspect pavement and bridges for safety before opening highways for public use.
Crews had to closed eastbound I-44 at Vandeventer just before midnight while emergency crews worked to contain it. The right two lanes reopened about 12:30 a.m. but the left lane remained closed.
It's not clear what sparked the fire, but the tractor and trailer appear to be total losses. Both have burned down to their metal frames.
There's no word of any injuries.
All lanes have now reopened along westbound I-44 just past the Allenton/Six Flags exit. The intestate had been closed completely earlier this morning.
Traffic should return to normal quickly.
There's also no word on any injuries or what may have caused the accident.