DOTD, Monroe, Ouachita Parish officials discuss clearing roads from winter storm

The mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain has caused havoc and headache for drivers across the...
The mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain has caused havoc and headache for drivers across the region.(Source: KNOE)
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 11:48 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - This week’s winter storm can be described in one word. Unprecedented.

The mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain has caused havoc and headache for drivers, and unfortunately there’s not much state, city and parish officials can do at this time.

“There’s not a lot going on. You probably don’t see a lot of crews out there working and that’s because the city of Monroe, as well as a lot of cities in this region, don’t have the infrastructure set up for this type of weather event,” said Michelli Martin, Monroe’s Communications Director.

It’s the same scenario across the entire region.

DOTD officials say the state doesn’t have the proper equipment like snowplows to clear roadways since this is such a rare occurrence. Parish and city officials say it’s a waiting game at this point.

“This is just a wait and see to see how much more accumulation we get, and to see if this thaws out any to see if we can clear some roadways,” said Shane Smiley, Ouachita Parish Police Jury President.

“It’s weird to say that we’re more equipped to handle hurricanes and tornadoes than four inches of snow. Something that wouldn’t fail a system like Manhattan or New York City, but for Monroe it is a line that we really can’t get past,” said Martin.

DOTD spokesperson Erin Buchanan said they pretreated roads Sunday night, but overnight conditions made it to where salting was no longer effective.

She said all they can do is continue to remind drivers to stay at home if possible, and not put others at risk.

“That’s what we want people to keep in mind. I know you can get stir crazy and want to get out there and check out the ‘winter wonderland’ but it’s just a very dangerous scenario,” said Buchanan.

“We’re just encouraging people to stay home if they can and wait this thing out because it looks like we have another round coming,” said Smiley.

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