“We STRONGLY urge everyone not to engage in unnecessary travel. We understand that some trips are unavoidable, but conditions have deteriorated to the point that we’ve deemed most routes in the northwest region to be impassable. These routes don’t necessary have a ‘road closed’ barrier but choosing to travel could be potentially hazardous, especially with wintry precipitation continuing to fall and another storm forecast for later this week,” said DOTD Public Information Officer Erin Buchanan.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that all state maintained roadways with the exception of I-20 and I-49 (sections that remain open) in the 7-parish Northwest region have been deemed impassable due to winter weather conditions.
There has been significant accumulation of snow and ice on bridges, overpasses, and roadways resulting in travel conditions that are considered to be inadvisable. With additional winter precipitation expected to impact the region over the next few days, DOTD is strongly urging motorists to avoid ALL unnecessary travel, including on interstates that remain open.
The major impacted routes include but are NOT limited to:
- US 71 (Natchitoches/Red River Parish line to Arkansas state line)
- US 171 (Sabine/DeSoto Parish line to I-20 in Caddo Parish)
- LA 1 (Natchitoches/Red River Parish line to Arkansas state line)
- US 84 (Texas state line to US 171 in Mansfield)
- LA 2 (Texas state line to Union Parish line)
- LA 9 (Natchitoches/Bienville Parish line to Arkansas state line)
- US 371 (I-49 to the Arkansas state line)
- US 79 (Minden to Arkansas state line)
- LA 3 (Bossier City to Arkansas state line)
- LA 526 (LA 3132 to I-49)
- LA 3132 (I-20 to LA 523)
While these and many other routes have not been barricaded and marked as ‘closed’, it is the intent of DOTD to warn motorists that roadway conditions have deteriorated and travel could be hazardous. If travel is absolutely necessary, DOTD urges drivers to adhere to the following safety tips:
- Drive slowly and carefully.
- Avoid driving while distracted.
- Always allow for extra driving time.
- Avoid using cruise control.
- Reduce speeds when visibility is low.
- Make sure there is plenty of room between vehicles.
- Be on the lookout for DOTD crews and other emergency responders and their equipment.
- Remember that it’s unlawful and unsafe to drive around a road closed barricade for any reason.
Also, beware of black ice – a thin, transparent layer of ice accumulation that can be visually hard to detect on bridges, overpasses, off-ramps and in shady spots. As always, DOTD reminds motorists to buckle up and refrain from distracted driving or driving under the influence.