DOTD Explains decision to close roads

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Barricades went up on I-49 and I-220 before 10 a.m. The forecast predicted a few inches of snow in the early afternoon, but after lunch drivers like Jared Cannon started to get frustrated that they still couldn't use the interstate when the road conditions seemed fine.

"I still haven't seen any snow, and I think it's kind of detrimental to transport. You know, you have a lot of people trying to get back and forth to work and sometimes they schedule their morning around having the ease of an interstate," said Cannon.

Cannon added he understands closing the roads for ice, but he feels DOTD jumped the gun this time.

"It's not even snowing yet, and it's been closed for 5 or 6 hours," he said.

DOTD says they had good reason to close both I-49 and I-220. The elevated parts of the interstate freeze much faster than the roads on the ground.

"I-49, the problems are compounded by the curves, vertical and horizontal curves. It's tough enough to stay on when it's dry. If you don't shut it down, there's not enough salt in the world to keep it safe," said DOTD District Engineer John Sanders.

It takes about an hour to shut down the interstate, so they would rather err on the side of caution and close it before anything happens.

"Preemptively we shut that thing down because you get traffic jammed up in there, and it's hard to get between them, try to get the salt under wheels to get it back open," said Sanders.

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