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Winter weather wreaks havoc on area roads

The Missouri Department of Transportation is asking drivers to stay off the roads unless they have to drive, at least for now.

Freezing rain overnight turned area highways into skating rinks for early morning commutes. At one point on Wednesday night, sections of Interstates 70, 44 and 55 were closed in the St. Louis area because of accidents.

150 MoDOT trucks salted the roads overnight, says the agency's Kara Price.

"Crews are applying a salt and salt brine mixture with beet juice and that is working pretty well at getting through the ice, because the pavement temperatures are in the upper 20s," she said.

But trouble spots remain in rural areas, she says. And parking lots and side roads will be dangerous as well.

Across the river, the Illinois State Police spent Wednesday night clearing 50 to 60 accidents. There were no serious injuries. It's the same story with the roads in Illinois: main routes are clear, but side roads are slippery.

The winter weather advisory is set to expire at 9am.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.