Police nab barricade violators just before interstates re-open

By Tracy Clemons – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- Freezing conditions overnight kept several of the busiest stretches of highways, bridges and overpasses closed for much of Saturday.

"In this event, we probably put out 700,000 pounds of salt," says Louisiana DOTD District Engineer John Sanders.

Saturday, crews went back and forth salting and moving the remaining snow and ice to the side. Whenever DOTD closes an interstate, the main part of the road is not the biggest concern. It's actually the bridges.

"If we get a little bit of sunshine, our ground temperature generally gets rid of the ground ice pretty quick. But our elevated structures take a long time to get de-iced," Sanders says.

One shreveport police officer wrote more than 25 tickets Saturday for drivers trying to get onto Interstate 49. We also rode along with Louisiana State Police on Interstate 220. While we were there, we caught a few rebels.

"My buddy, he said get off on Shed Road. I said well this thing got to be open now. Heck, it's dry and all that. So I just kept going," says Chris Beaty from Haughton.

"First I assumed that it was open because of the temperature, and I saw all the ice had melted. I got on, drove around the barricade, and I was just assuming things I shouldn't assume," says the other driver, who wished to remain anonymous.

LSP Trooper Cordell Williams says they had fewer people try to drive on the closed roads this time around than the last winter blast. But his message remains the same.

"It's very important to not disregard these barricades for the safety of the motorist, and the state personnel that are actually working up here because the movement of tractors, dump trucks, and other vehicles that are moving in both directions."

Ignoring the warning could cost you $175.

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