Emergency agencies dealing with icy conditions beg people to stay off roads

Emergency agencies dealing with icy conditions beg people to stay off roads
LSP unit in the snow (Source: LSP)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The roads are icy, but what does that mean for our emergency agencies, such as Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD)?

DOTD has pulled crews off the roads for the now.

“The conditions were too hazardous to send anybody out there; we didn’t want anybody out there and still don’t,” said Erin Buchanan, DOTD’s public information officer.

The ice the historically low temperatures do not make for a good mix on the roads. In DOTD’s case, it makes it even more difficult to break down the ice.

“Dispensing salt on top of the snow and accumulated ice is, number one, not an effective use of our resources. We have a finite amount of salt; we have a finite amount of manpower and equipment,” Buchanan said. “Scientifically speaking, it’s really not effective at helping to melt that ice.”

So far, the department has used 446,825 lbs of salt during this weather event and have 981,550 lbs left, according to Buchanan.

Unfortunately, she said, there is not much more the department can do, especially since the region is not equipped with snow removal equipment.

“We go many years without any type of winter weather event,” Buchanan said. “Having a fleet of plow trucks - even one or two - is just not economically feasible for us to have.”

FULL INTERVIEW WITH ERIN BUCHANAN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FOR DOTD:

FULL INTERVIEW: Erin Buchanan with DOTD

On the other hand, LSP has a full staff out and about.

“We are still operating with as many troopers that are necessary,” said Brent Hardy, the public information officer for Troop G. “It varies between day and night shift. If we have to call in extra people, we do have that as an option also.”

He described Tuesday’s roads as “treacherous,” and by evening, he said the roads were in the worst condition he’s seen since the beginning of the winter storm.

Just before 5 p.m., Hardy wrote in a news release, troopers were assisting with at least eight crashes on I-20 eastbound. He also advised that drivers “avoid highways.”

He also told KSLA News 12 troopers responded to more than 70 “stranded car” calls before 3 p.m.

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