UPDATE: I-70 open to traffic in Kansas after multiple roads shut down, motorists urged to use extra caution


The 69 Highway expansion project is looking at how best to improve one of Kansas’ busiest highways between 103rd and 179th streets.

TOPEKA, (KSNT)— The Kansas Department of Transportation has reopened both directions of I-70 in Kansas. 

This comes after multiple roads were closed in western Kansas, including I-70 from the Colorado state line to Russell, because of low visibility from blowing dust and crashes blocking the roadways.

The latest update comes around 5:40 p.m. with the warning to motorists to be careful on the roads.

Earlier Wednesday, numerous highways in western and south central Kansas were closed for several hours due to high winds, low visibility from blowing dust, downed power lines and crashes blocking the roadways.

The westbound I-70 closure was extended earlier as well, from Salina to the Colorado state line, with an eastbound closure from Goodland to Russell. Numerous other highways in western and south central Kansas were also closed because of low visibility from blowing dust and crashes blocking the roadways.

All highways have now been opened traffic, but motorists should continue to use extra caution and avoid travel if possible. Some winds and blowing dust are expected to continue into the evening.

Due to safety concerns regarding the high winds moving through the area Wednesday, Governor Kelly has issued a Declaration of Inclement Weather for Shawnee County from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. This declaration applies to all non-essential state employees in Executive Branch agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction who are working in their offices located in Shawnee County. Those employees who are working remotely should continue to do so. 

The weather is a concern for many people traveling in the state, and transportation officials are asking people to adjust to the conditions on the road.

Troy Whitworth, Director of Safety for the agency, said there are several steps, people can take to stay safe.

“With low visibility, what will end up happening is cars will run into back ends of other cars,” Whitworth said. “The other thing with the high winds is we will have high profile vehicles that will end up getting blown over in this wind as well.”

Whitworth said drivers can drive with their lights on, pull over if they need to, and he said it’s also important to slow down to prevent accidents from happening.

“You get into low visibility, slow down, make sure your lights are on. That’s probably the best thing you can do, other than not traveling in these conditions.”

For up-to-date information on road closures and road conditions, visit www.kandrive.org, or call 511 in Kansas or 866-511-5368 outside Kansas.

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