Snow – Freezing Rain Lead To Crashes – Snow Slide Closes Part of I-90 Near Lookout Pass
Monday morning's commute had a little bit of everything, snow, freezing rain and several slide-offs and crashes, even a snow slide on I-90, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.
Captain Jim KItchin said the typical incidents occurred when the highways around western Montana are coated with ice and snow.
"The normal snow-day crashes, there were a couple of crashes down south," Kitchin said. "We had a couple of them up on the interstate along with some slide-offs that occurred today. Also, we had a snow slide at mile marker eight near the top of Lookout Pass reported a little after 11 a.m.. The westbound lanes are affected. I think it's just the main driving lane, but the passing lane is open. The DOT (Department of Transportation) crews are on their way up to take care of it as we speak (12:30 p.m. on Monday).
Kitchen asks drivers in this inclement weather to slow down and use extreme caution.
"People are going to have to drive a lot slower and be aware of their surroundings," he said. "The roads are icy, so they need to be aware of that, and they should slow down and buckle up, In addition, don't drink and drive and don't text and drive and stay focused on the operation of your vehicle."
Earlier on Monday morning, Steve Felix with the Missoula Division of the Montana Department of Transportation appeared on the Montana Morning show, and said heavy snow and freezing rain were affecting all the roads around western Montana.
"On I-90 from the Alberton area up over Lookout Pass is receiving very heavy snow as of 8:00 a.m.," Felix said. "We have severe driving conditions in the Alberton, St. Regis and Lookout Pass area. Lookout Pass was receiving snow at the rate of two inches per hour and our crews are working very hard to keep that roadway open. All our available plows are out right now, so please give those guys plenty of room to work. They'll get out of your way as soon as possible, but they're out there trying to make the roads safe and keep the highways open."
Highway 12 from Lolo Pass into Idaho has been closed due to an avalanche since midnight on Monday morning, and will remain closed until further notice.