Eastern Plains highways reopen after dust storm shuts them down earlier

AKRON, Colo. - A wind-driven dust storm closed eastbound Interstate 70 and U.S. 34 for hours Thursday.  

Poor visibility on the dust-shrouded roads caused multiple accidents on U.S. 34 near Akron, and CDOT closed the highway in both directions at 11:27 a.m. Eastbound remained closed for  10 hours, until at 9:30 p.m.

I-70 was back open by about 4:25 p.m.

Additionally, the Kansas Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 70 from Colby to the Colorado border at mid-afternoon Thursday. Sections of Kansas 27 and U.S. Highways 36 and 83 in Sherman, Cheyenne, Rawlins, Thomas and Sheridan counties were also closed.

Authorities in Cheyenne County reported the wind caused a tractor-trailer to roll over on U.S. 36 west of St. Francis.

Earlier, 7NEWS photojournalist Major King tweeted photos showing dust limiting visibility on US 34 to less than 100 feet. His pictures also showed accidents including cars, pickup trucks and tractor trailers.

Meteorologist Kirsten Horne reported wind gusts reached:

51 mph in Burlington

48 mph in Akron

47 mph in Holyoke

-- Kansas Highways Reopen --

Major highways have reopened in northwest Kansas after being shut down because of high winds and blowing dust.
 
The Kansas Department of Transportation closed Interstate 70 from Colby to the Colorado border at mid-afternoon Thursday. Sections of Kansas 27 and U.S. Highways 36 and 83 in Sherman, Cheyenne, Rawlins, Thomas and Sheridan counties were also closed for a time.
 
But the wind subsided as darkness fell, allowing the highways to reopen.
 
In Goodland, the National Weather Service reported winds of 45 mph with gusts up to 55 mph Thursday afternoon. Similar gusts were reported throughout the region, and authorities in Cheyenne County blamed the wind for a tractor-trailer rollover on U.S. 36 west of St. Francis.
 
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