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Community Comes Together When Interstate Closed
Closing a major interstate across Iowa takes planning even before the first snowflakes fly.
Interstate 35 was closed overnight about 1:10 a.m. from Ames north to near Clear Lake as a blizzard moved through and numerous crashes were reported.
Gates added on Interstate 35 in 2010 were closed and traffic funneled off the interstate.
Story County officials said that what happened next took months of planning by Ames city officials, Iowa State University, Story County Emergency Management, the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau and Story County Amateur Radio Emergency Services.
Officials said Allyson Walter of the Ames Convention and Visitor's Bureau contacting hotels in the area to check for available rooms.
Corey Mellies, of Ames Public Works, prepositioned signs to direct travelers from Highway 30 to safe areas within Ames.
Truck drivers were directed to Iowa State University's parking lots near Hilton Coliseum.
Clint Miller, of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, contacted travelers using CB radios to notify them of the closure and guide them where they needed to go.
Story County officials said the effort took the whole community.
Management Coordinator Keith Morgan asks everyone to consider volunteering with a disaster response organization to help make the communities better prepared.
The interstate reopened about 7:30 a.m.