UPDATE: I-80 is now open across Nebraska.
Portions of Interstate 80 have been closed as a winter storm roars through the state, causing white-out conditions in west-central Nebraska.
I-80, westbound from Grand Island to North Platte, has been closed and eastbound, from North Platte to Lexington, as troopers and emergency crews clear the interstate of dozens of wrecks. The storm also has made driving impossible on U.S. Highway 30 in the North Platte area. It has been closed as well.
Nebraska State Patrol spokesman, Cody Thomas, says the interstate will be closed for a while.
“Very difficult to predict when we will be able to re-open both I-80 and Highway 30 in those areas,” Thomas tells Nebraska Radio Network. “It all depends on the conditions on the road and how quickly we’ll be able to get everything cleared off of I-80 so that driving is safe.”
Falling snow and high winds created whiteout conditions in portions of the state, causing multiple accidents on I-80 in western to west-central Nebraska. Some form of precipitation is falling throughout Nebraska; either snow, sleet, freezing rain or a combination thereof.
Thomas says it appears central Nebraska, from border to border, is bearing the brunt of the storm, though roads throughout northeastern Nebraska are reported snow-covered by the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
“We’ve seen a number of areas around Nebraska see several inches of snow; that ice and the sleet as well have made driving conditions a little more difficult in some areas, but certainly the central part of the state has seen it the hardest,” according to Thomas.
Thomas says if you don’t have to travel, don’t. If you do, be careful and aware of driving conditions.
“So, we just want people to make sure they’re checking 511 to get the latest travel conditions and the road conditions from there and if you ever become stuck on the road, call *55 from your cell phone. That reaches the NSP highway helpline and we can have a trooper come help.”
Click here for Nebraska 511, the road conditions website maintained by the Nebraska Department of Transportation.