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DOTD on stand-by as temps drop with possible change in road conditions

“Our main goal is to keep the roads open and also to keep everyone safe.”

NEW ORLEANS — State transportation crews have been very busy lately.   

“We’ve heard the weather reports over the past several days that, ‘hey, be prepared for this artic blast,’” said Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Public Information Officer Chris Welty.  

That forecast could possibly bring freezing precipitation to Southeast Louisiana, which means getting to and from where we need to go could get a little hectic. That’s why there’s about 250,000 pounds of salt and a lot of brine mix in the New Orleans metro area ready to be spread on roadways if needed.  

“They’re just little crystals and this is what would go onto the pavement during an ice event,” said Welty as he scooped up some of the salt. “Our main goal is to keep the roads open and also to keep everyone safe.”

Welty says crews will be in place by midnight ready to respond. Bridges and overpasses are the focus because those freezes first. 

“Although we might not see that 32-degree mark necessarily, some of those bridges and overpasses can actually freeze at a higher temperature,” said Welty.  

According to the National Weather Service, that’s because bridges and overpasses are surrounded by cold air. Keep in mind, ice can be patchy, and you need to slow down when approaching them.  When it comes to ice on roads, the National Weather Service notes it can form anywhere, mostly happens at night, and if you don’t have to be driving, don’t.  

“Things can change on a moment’s notice. That’s why are crews want to be prepared and ready to go,” said Welty.  

DOTD crews aren’t the only ones ready to go.  

“This will become a busy time for us, and we’ll be dispatched to a lot of calls,” said Jefferson Parish East Bank Fire Chief Dave Tibbets.  

Tibbets says when temperatures drop, the use of space heaters and fireplaces goes up.   

“They’re a great tool but they’re very dangerous,” said Tibbets. 

Tibbets says don’t use extension cords for space heaters and keep them far away from anything else. For fireplaces, understand how they operate and how the damper works.  

“We always pay a lot of attention to when the cold weather changes,” said Tibbets. 

Whether on the road or at home, staying safe is priority.    

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