Local Residents Encouraged to Avoid Areas Around Interstate Interchanges

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Published on January 7 2014 5:54 pm
Last Updated on January 8 2014 2:37 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham area residents were being encouraged Tuesday to avoid the areas around all three interstate interchanges due to a large volume of truck traffic in town.

After battling the snow on Sunday and the cold on Monday, many truck drivers arrived in Effingham Monday night tired and hungry and in need of a break.  Truck stops filled up quickly, leading local law enforcement authorities to open other parking lots to accommodate them.  When parking lots at the Effingham Performance Center, New Hope Church and Menard's filled up, some trucks were sent to the Sacred Heart School parking lot.

Eventually, local authorities decided Monday evening to let some rigs start parking on streets since there was no other place to put them.  

The situation didn't change Tuesday. 

Police are asking us to share with our listeners to avoid those interchanges because there's a danger once you get in those areas, you won't get back out for some time.

The scene Tuesday morning on Keller Drive, where traffic was backed up to the river bottoms in some cases

Crews again attempted to route truckers to local parking lots for the night as they attempted to keep roadways open.

For travelers stopped in Effingham who did't want to get back out on the roads, a warming center was again available at the Ron Diehl Center at Hendelmeyer Park.  The Center is located on South 4th Street.  You can use Fayette Avenue to go east to 4th Street and then south to the Center. There is also a warming center in Effingham at the Effingham Performance Center along Outer Belt West.

Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy said almost 400 people were housed Monday and Tuesday nights at the two warming centers.

The problems with access started to spread Tuesday.  Truckers were trying to exit Interstate 70 at Altamont and due to the uphill nature of those interchanges and the lack of traction, trucks were having trouble navigating the hills, resulting in traffic backups.

Outer Belt West off of Fayette Avenue was wall to wall trucks all the way to Route 40 Tuesday morning

Altamont has now opened a warming center in the Altamont Municipal Building, located next to the Altamont Fire Station along the CSX Railroad tracks north of downtown.  You're asked to use the west door, and please take along your own provisions.

There are also warming centers at the Dieterich, Edgewood and Watson fire stations and the Edgewood American Legion Post Home.

We have also learned that St. Rose of Lima Church in Montrose opened as a warming center to travelers last night.