Missouri closes Interstate 44 near Joplin after crash

Thursday, February 3, 2011 | 11:41 a.m. CST; updated 7:32 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 3, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri transportation officials have closed part of Interstate 44 because of a deadly crash in Oklahoma.

The Missouri Department of Transportation closed westbound I-44 near Joplin at the 11-mile marker on Thursday. Motorists are urged to take alternate routes to Interstate 40 in Arkansas. Those options are U.S. 63 in Rolla, U.S. 65 in Springfield and Interstate 55 in St. Louis. Traffic in the Joplin area also is being detoured.

State transportation officials say I-44 is expected to remain closed for an extended period of time. Officials say motorists who have passed the alternate routes should wait at the nearest exit for the highway to reopen.

At least three people were killed in northeastern Oklahoma on Thursday when a pickup truck ran off snow-covered I-44 and plunged into a river.

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