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Cold weather road preps

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ST. FRANCISVILLE - In West Feliciana parish, the department of public works spent Friday sanding bridges they anticipate will pose some problems once temperatures dip below freezing.

"We're expecting icy conditions on the roads and bridges," DPW director, Julius Metz said. "Because of the amount of bridges we have, we're trying to get an early start."

Heading into the weekend, it's not current conditions that are of concern. However, as next week approaches, parishes like West Feliciana, as well as the state, are making sure they aren't caught off guard.

"We're watching for the bridges to ice," Rodney Mallett of DOTD said. "They are going to ice first, they are the most dangerous."

Pallets of salt have already been pre-positioned near well-known trouble spots, like the Huey P. Long Bridge. Across the capital area, crews on standby have what they need.

"We have 750,000 pounds of salt," Mallett said. "So it's not anything we're going to run out of."

The state has prioritized the routes it will need to take care of right away while acknowledging some spots are simply bound to freeze.

"Long, elevated highways such as the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, the Mississippi River Bridge, I-110, they are going to freeze early and stay frozen much longer," Mallett said. "So what we do, is we take our resources and we prioritize certain routes, such as the US-190 bridge we're under, Airline highway, Florida boulevard, the state routes that don't have the really long bridges."

With salt and trucks ready at a moments notice, DOTD says it will get to work as soon as conditions deteriorate and routes require attention, but in light of Thursday's fatal 100-plus car pileup in Fort Worth, officials are urging caution to drivers, even on roads that remain open and appear safe, as ice can be hard to spot.

It's almost impossible, once you lose control and start sliding, you're breaks don't work anymore, you're just gonna slide wherever your car decides to go and that's not gonna end up well," Mallett said.

For the latest road closures, traffic maps, and incident listings, click here or visit 511la.org.

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