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DOTD urges continued caution, warns of refreezing of roads, bridges

1 year 3 months 8 hours ago Monday, February 15 2021 Feb 15, 2021 February 15, 2021 9:21 PM February 15, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Louisianans mostly stayed home or stayed careful during Monday's ice storm, and officials hope to see that again Tuesday.

The few travelers who braved the frigid temperatures and icy roads Monday did so at a glacial pace, being careful of slick, icy spots. The Department of Transportation says the choice by many to stay home shows.

"We have not seen the large number of crashes that you would anticipate, DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallet said. "We do see people out on the roadways, sometimes slide off, nothing major. We haven't had any major crashes."

Inside the warm confines of DOTD's traffic management center, the staff is working around the clock, watching those routes still open while also keeping an eye on those enveloped in ice and blocked off to drivers.

Road crews, though, are out in the elements, working hard to keep priority routes like the old bridge open.

"We have been throwing salt on that bridge constantly since 2 p.m.," Mallett said.

They've managed to keep that bridge open, while the new bridge, portions of I-10 and I-12, and I-110 have been closed for hours.

While DOTD hasn't seen any major problems today, Louisiana State Police say it's has worked more than 150 crashes. Some drivers bypassed barricades to drive onto dangerous, closed roads.

As many surface streets appeared fine to the naked eye Monday night, officials warned that temperatures dropping overnight mean that wet spots and ice patches will refreeze. The same dangerous conditions seen Monday morning will return.

"You need to be very careful, and tonight with the refreeze there could definitely be more ice on the roadways," Mallett said. "You need to be very careful. We still don't want people out."

DOTD won't speculate on when the larger routes and bridges could reopen.

"It is hard to make those predictions because it's so dependent on the elements," Mallett said. "We need sunshine, elevated temperatures, a nice breeze that can come by and dry out the roadways. All of that plays a part in it."

For the latest on road closures and alternate routes click here.

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