Crews continue monitoring icy conditions on roadways

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 11:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 30 at 8:48 AM

Thanh Truong / Eyewitness News
Email: ttruong@wwltv.com | Twitter: @thanh412

NEW ORLEANS -- Work crews with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development maintained an all-hands-on-deck mentality on Wednesday as they did their best to get major roads, bridges and interstates reopened.

Salt trucks treated both east and west bound lanes of the Twin Span Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, but by late evening the thoroughfare to and from the Northshore remained closed.

"This morning we had about quarter inch of ice on the Twin Spans. That for the most part has melted off at this point. We have some patchy ice on the Twin Spans. We're going to put salts on it this evening and hope to get it open to the public," said Fred Wetekamm, a district area engineer with the La. DOTD.

In and around the metro area, traffic started to flow again after freezing conditions made roads too slick for travel. Many frustrated drivers questioned decisions by state and parish officials to keep certain roads closed. They said they couldn't see any signs of ice or treacherous conditions.

But drivers like Dame Wise said those officials made the right call in shutting down roads that they deemed too dangerous.

"Yes they did, because when I went to the West Bank early this morning, I saw at least 10 to1l cars just on the side of the road," said Wise.

DOTD crews, which are clocking heavy work hours, are getting some assistance from the Louisiana National Guard. The state mobilized roughly 450 members to assist in the response to the rare winter storm. Many of the troops, normally accustomed to sandbagging for hurricanes and tropical storms, assisted in salting operations on some of the state's icy roads.

With a second day of closed businesses and schools, many residents are eager to put the storm and its impacts to bed. The DOTD crews share that eagerness.

"When we get things re-opened, we're going to get some sleep," said Fred Wettekam.

The DOTD urges drivers to call 511 for information on road conditions.

 

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