Truck traffic slowly resumes

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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SALINA, Kan. -- Thanks to sunshine and road salt, commercial traffic was able to return to nearly normal Wednesday.

Tuesday night, enough truckers pulled off Interstate 70 in Salina that the lots of all three truck stops off the Ninth Street Exit from I-70 were full.

"(I've) never seen it this full," said Wray, Colo., trucker Rodney Olivas. "This was the last spot last night. Otherwise, it was out in the street."

Ninth Street was lined by big rigs late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. Olivas decided the road conditions were dangerous enough during the storm to cut short his Wray-to-Kansas City haul.

"They were really bad," he said. "I could have kept going, but I kept seeing 18-wheelers in the ditch, cars in the ditch, cars pulling trailers in the ditch and it was getting to where I was almost hitting these vehicles."

Highways were still snowpacked and slick Wednesday afternoon. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner expected another busy day.

"Our troopers are working the roads, looking for any type of abandoned vehicles that need to be tagged to make sure that there's no occupants in them," he said. "Once they're tagged, after 48 hours, they can be removed, by state law, by enforcement officers at our request."

Gardner said there would have been many more accidents and calls for help had people not heeded warnings to stay home.

"A variety of Kansans and motorists did that and it showed on the roadways," Gardner said.

The roads were safe enough Wednesday that most truckers could continue. Olivas headed on for Kansas City early in the morning.

"I'd rather not, but I've got to go," he said.

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