ANKENY, Iowa — Snow and ice affected every Iowa road on Thursday, which meant Department of Transportation employees worked overtime to keep an eye on where crashes happened throughout the day.
Iowa DOT’s Traffic Management Center featured live feeds of every highway camera throughout the state. Employees there used their birds’ eye view to alert both civilians, snowplow operators, and law enforcement about the incidents on the roads.
“We have multiple crashes across the state, so we have a number of operators and they have to handle multiple incidents at once,” said Iowa DOT traffic operations director Andrew Lewis. “They’re doing what they can to monitor the 500 cameras we have spread across the state.”
While Iowa DOT watched from above, Iowa State Patrol responded to the incidents on the ground level.
Sgt. Alex Dinkla said the agency responded to about 200 crashes on Thursday, and they fear conditions will remain terrible until at least Christmas Day.
“We don’t want people to continue to drive on these roads,” Dinkla said. “Think about all of the other people, in the event that you have an incident, that you’re exposing to the cold. The first responders, the tow trucks, the law enforcement personnel.”
Traffic Management Center monitors are watching road conditions 24/7, but Lewis hopes drivers give them less to do until the snow and ice melts away.
“If travel is not necessary, it’s best to stay home and wait it out,” Lewis said.