The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is preparing to deal with the snow, sleet and freezing rain expected to impact the New Orleans region this week.
The DOTD said in a press release that they are planning to pretreat portions of Interstates and major traffic corridors ahead of the storm's impact. Workers are prepared to apply de-icing materials, remove fallen trees, and close roadways if necessary; however, the state does not possess enough equipment or resources to keep all the bridges in the state open through this severe weather event.
The state has stockpiled 4.6 million pounds of salt and 24,000 gallons of de-icer, according to NOLA.com.
Elevated highways are especially susceptible to icing during prolonged freezing events, according to the state, and motorists are being urged not to drive during hazardous conditions.
"DOTD staff and other local and state agencies worked tirelessly to keep as many roads open as they could during last week’s winter weather event," DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas was quoted as saying in the press release. "We saw the elevated portions, such as I-10 over the Atchafalaya Basin and Mississippi River Bridge, freeze and take a while to thaw. These conditions should be taken seriously. Don’t drive unless you have to."
The DOTD has prepared a list of simple precautions to take if motorists must brave the inclement weather and dangerous roads:
- Drive slowly, and avoid driving while distracted.
- Allow for extra driving time.
- Do not drive during periods of reduced visibility.
- Allow for plenty of room between vehicles.
- Be aware of black ice — a thin, transparent layer of ice that can be very difficult to detect while driving.
Motorists seeking real-time updates on road conditions can call the 511 information line, or visit the Traveler Information web site.