MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD)– Most of you are stuck inside as icy roadways prevent you and your family from driving in cities and parishes across North Louisiana. Monroe, West Monroe, and Ouachita Parish officials are saying we don’t have the equipment to clear the roads as these conditions are something weve never experinced before. Just beacuse the suns been out today, doesnt mean the roads will be clear of ice and snow.
“Don’t let the sun deceive you, the roads are still very treacherous and icy, all the sun is doing is melting that top layer of snow,” said Staci Mitchell, Mayor of West Monroe
As the road conditions continue to deteriorate, the City of West Monroe is working to help de-ice bridges, but residents still need to be careful.
“On bridges, public works has put out salt on some of the city bridges that we have. On the roads, we are just encouraging everyone to stay off. 4-wheel drive vehicles are definitely the preferred vehicle to be on the roads, but other than that it is getting slick out there,” said Mayor Mitchell.
The City of Monroe says Monroe PD has responded to at least 20 cars that have slid off the road since Monday night. As of right now, laying sand on the roads is not an option.
“We are at a point right now where it is not feasible. We were putting a deicing agent down at the airport but it came to the point where it just wasn’t doing what we needed it to do. The effort to get it out there wasn’t matching the demand,” said Michelli Martin, Communications Director for the City of Monroe.
Besides first responders being able to help, Monroe officials say they are at a stand still.
“Once it begins we are going to be waiting for Mother Nature to finish. So we are really at the mercy of Mother Nature. If we were a city like New York City, Philadelphia, or Chicago, we would have the infrastructure necessary, but we are not built to handle winter situations like this, precipitation like this,” said Martin.
And the Ouachita Parish Police Jury says they are having the same problem.
“It is too much ice and snow for us to even start to try and salt or use sand on the roads. If we put it on now, it is not going to do any good. I know some people have asked why we don’t have a snowplow, but we don’t have a weather event like this but every 30 or 40 years, so it is just not beneficial. Most of the roads are passable, but again we are not advising anybody to be out site seeing today,” said Shane Smiley, Ouachita Parish Police Jury President.
Officials say the best thing you can do is just stay home.
“When people are driving out on roads they don’t need to be on they are really putting a strain on our first responders and law enforcement, and Public Works,” said Smiley.
Now we also talked with multiple mayors across North Louisiana on how they are dealing with these horrible road conditions.
In oak grove, Mayor Adam Holland says they are laying salt at businesses that are open and relying on DOTD to treat the state roads. He is also asking people to keep pipes running and to stay off roads.
In Bastrop, Mayor Henry Cotton says they don’t have enough sand and salt to treat all the roads and they are relying on the state. Transportation is available for first responders and hospital workers,
and a shelter is open at the Dotson Park Gym.
Village of Choudrant:
In Choudrant, Mayor Bill Sanderson says they are also relying on DOTD to treat the roads.
A critical area is at the intersection of HWY 80 and 145, and finally, he’s encouraging people to stay at home.
In Grambling, Mayor Edward Jones says they are sanding city roads and DOTD is salting state roads and bridges. Fire, police, and public works are out monitoring the city.
In Ruston, Mayor Ronny Walker says they are not salting the streets as it is not making a difference, but they will have essential workers and first responders on standby.
In Sterlington, Mayor Ceaser Velazquez says they are relying on DOTD. They have sewer and utility crews out making sure everything is running properly.