DOTD priority on safety applauded during winter storm

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE - While hundreds of thousands of motorists were stranded on frozen roadways across the south, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development kept its citizens safe by being proactive in its operations and communications, according to the leader of the state's top transportation group.

Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association president Kenneth Perret said DOTD was well prepared for the sub-freezing weather and utilized a wise strategy of concentrating on a smaller number of priority routes to keep open to take full advantage of its limited resources and manpower.

"Louisiana has more than 11,000 bridges and overpasses and trying to keep all of them open would have been a fool's errand," Perret said. "Their strategy of keeping priority routes open was a good use of public resources. And, when those routes became impassable, DOTD quickly shut them down and got the word out effectively."

Because road conditions literally changed with the weather, DOTD was constantly opening and closing roads and bridges and worked hard to update people, putting out more than 70 news releases and photographs around the clock.

"I thought they communicated well with the public, not only in telling people what was open and what was closed but also in stressing the danger in traveling in conditions that we don't see too often in Louisiana," Perret said.