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Author Topic: I-49 in Northern Louisiana (Louisiana closes I-49 way too soon in cold weather.)  (Read 9216 times)

jbnv

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Fairbanks Alaska can somehow keep roads open when temperatures donít even get above -20 but yet Louisiana shuts down by 49 when temperatures get below 40? Wat

Are you seriously comparing a state that has several months of harsh winter weather with one that gets winter precipitation maybe once a year? People in Louisiana do not prepare for winter precipitation. That's just reality. When it hits, people lose their minds. It makes sense for DOTD to be overly cautious. It sends a message: "Hey, we may get that stuff we hardly ever get."
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Plutonic Panda

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Fairbanks Alaska can somehow keep roads open when temperatures donít even get above -20 but yet Louisiana shuts down by 49 when temperatures get below 40? Wat

Are you seriously comparing a state that has several months of harsh winter weather with one that gets winter precipitation maybe once a year? People in Louisiana do not prepare for winter precipitation. That's just reality. When it hits, people lose their minds. It makes sense for DOTD to be overly cautious. It sends a message: "Hey, we may get that stuff we hardly ever get."
Yes. Thereís something called middle ground. By all means continue supporting this laughable practice. I almost couldnít believe they really do this.
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bwana39

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https://www.ksla.com/2022/02/03/inclement-weather-causes-temporary-road-closures-arklatex/

They closed all of it preemptively around 3:30 Thursday afternoon. No winter precipitation yet, 35F.

This morning schools are hit or miss. Some starting late, others starting at regular time, some are closed (some closed yesterday, high 30's with pouring rain.

I am leaving and will see how US-71 is here in a bit.
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jbnv

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Fairbanks Alaska can somehow keep roads open when temperatures donít even get above -20 but yet Louisiana shuts down by 49 when temperatures get below 40? Wat

Are you seriously comparing a state that has several months of harsh winter weather with one that gets winter precipitation maybe once a year? People in Louisiana do not prepare for winter precipitation. That's just reality. When it hits, people lose their minds. It makes sense for DOTD to be overly cautious. It sends a message: "Hey, we may get that stuff we hardly ever get."
Yes. Thereís something called middle ground. By all means continue supporting this laughable practice. I almost couldnít believe they really do this.

Since you apparently know more about how to keep Louisiana roads open in winter precipitation than Louisiana's own department of transportation, please educate us on what this "middle ground" is.
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US 89

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Fairbanks Alaska can somehow keep roads open when temperatures donít even get above -20 but yet Louisiana shuts down by 49 when temperatures get below 40? Wat

Are you seriously comparing a state that has several months of harsh winter weather with one that gets winter precipitation maybe once a year? People in Louisiana do not prepare for winter precipitation. That's just reality. When it hits, people lose their minds. It makes sense for DOTD to be overly cautious. It sends a message: "Hey, we may get that stuff we hardly ever get."
Yes. Thereís something called middle ground. By all means continue supporting this laughable practice. I almost couldnít believe they really do this.

If this "middle ground" involves the state of Louisiana buying a bunch of snowplows and salt trucks, consider this: they won't be used 363 days of the year. Plus you have to maintain them and keep them up. That is a lot of Louisiana taxpayer money that could be spent elsewhere...like perhaps maintaining the state's huge state highway system.

Also, regarding your Alaska comment. In Montana and probably Alaska and most other places that get very cold, they don't even bother to plow their roads to the pavement. They just shovel off the top and pack the rest down. Half the problem with snow is the melting and refreezing cycles that happen when temperatures get close to freezing, which usually results in patches or layers of ice on the road. So if it stays below maybe 20F, you can get pretty good traction on packed snow. This is especially true if you have snow tires, and in places that cold, just about everyone does. And because winters are so harsh and regular up there, everyone has experience with driving in that kind of weather.

In Louisiana, not only does nobody have snow tires or have much experience with driving in winter conditions, but it never gets cold enough to allow for that good packed-snow traction. When Louisiana does get their taste of winter, it's far more likely to be the type of winter with the near-freezing temperatures and messy precipitation types (freezing rain, etc.) that lead to especially icy, slick roads.

Bobby5280

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Yep. Here in Lawton various local social media outlets have been jammed with the usual idiotic complaints of the city not keeping the roads clear with this latest snow and ice storm. As usual the complainers offer up the really dopey apples-oranges comparisons to Northern cities that deal with far more snow every winter. And they routinely over-estimate how great a job those cities do at keeping the roads clear.

I lived in Syracuse, NY for a couple years when I was a kid. Obviously cities that get that much lake effect snow are going to have snow plows running constantly during winter time. But that does NOT mean the roads there are always clear and safe. One good lake effect snow squall can instantly make driving hazardous. Freezing rain is danerous in any location where it falls.

Then there is the matter of what it costs a city to maintain a fleet of snow plows as well as maintain a supply of sand, salt and other materials for treating the roads. The complainers don't think of that at all, or just assume the city has an infinite amount of cash laying around. Quite a few of our neighborhood streets in Lawton are in bad shape and can't be effectively plowed. They're using street graters and pickup trucks with plow attachments. The plow blade on either would jam and wreck the vehicle moving over that uneven, buckling pavement. The main snow plow we have in Lawton is the sun.
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triplemultiplex

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So if the idea is to stop people from crashing during rare winter weather in northern Louisiana, a modern interstate freeway is going to be way safer than forcing people onto two-lane US 71.  If people insist on driving in those conditions, are they not making it more dangerous for them to slide into oncoming traffic and stuff by closing I-49?  This isn't like interstate closures on the high plains and intermountain west where the interstate is pretty much the only option, so shutting the freeway down actually shuts down traffic attempting to move during adverse conditions.

Are they not just moving the problem from one highway to others?  It's not like they're shutting down US 71 and various state routes in the region as well.  I-49 has space between the directions of travel and huge clear zones off the shoulder and of course no cross traffic so it's way safer to drive on than any surface routes, especially if it's snowy and/or icy.
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Bobby5280

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An Interstate highway like I-49 would, in theory, be safer in snowy or icy weather than a 2-lane route like US-71 since it has a wider right of way and fewer obstructions near the roadway. But motorists drive at different speeds and at different attention levels on those two different kinds of highways. People tend to drive fast and relaxed on Interstates. On regular 2-lane roads you always have to be on the lookout for oncoming traffic as well as vehicles turning onto the highway from driveways or intersections.

Too many people drive too fast in bad weather conditions. They tend to push their luck harder on super highways. The faster speeds yield greater consequences when roads get slick and hazardous. We never hear about 100 car pile-ups on 2 lane roads due to icy roads, fog, etc.
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jbnv

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So if the idea is to stop people from crashing during rare winter weather in northern Louisiana, a modern interstate freeway is going to be way safer than forcing people onto two-lane US 71.  If people insist on driving in those conditions, are they not making it more dangerous for them to slide into oncoming traffic and stuff by closing I-49? Are they not just moving the problem from one highway to others?

I think the general idea is to just encourage everyone to stay home. I lived in Wisconsin for 1.5 years and am basically the winter-weather expert around here, so I can laugh at how easily everything gets shut down around here when the temperature drops or the winds increase. But pretty much everyone's fine with taking a weather day. It's just part of the culture.
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bwana39

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Fairbanks Alaska can somehow keep roads open when temperatures don’t even get above -20 but yet Louisiana shuts down by 49 when temperatures get below 40? Wat

Are you seriously comparing a state that has several months of harsh winter weather with one that gets winter precipitation maybe once a year? People in Louisiana do not prepare for winter precipitation. That's just reality. When it hits, people lose their minds. It makes sense for DOTD to be overly cautious. It sends a message: "Hey, we may get that stuff we hardly ever get."
Yes. There’s something called middle ground. By all means continue supporting this laughable practice. I almost couldn’t believe they really do this.

If this "middle ground" involves the state of Louisiana buying a bunch of snowplows and salt trucks, consider this: they won't be used 363 days of the year. Plus you have to maintain them and keep them up. That is a lot of Louisiana taxpayer money that could be spent elsewhere...like perhaps maintaining the state's huge state highway system.

Also, regarding your Alaska comment. In Montana and probably Alaska and most other places that get very cold, they don't even bother to plow their roads to the pavement. They just shovel off the top and pack the rest down. Half the problem with snow is the melting and refreezing cycles that happen when temperatures get close to freezing, which usually results in patches or layers of ice on the road. So if it stays below maybe 20F, you can get pretty good traction on packed snow. This is especially true if you have snow tires, and in places that cold, just about everyone does. And because winters are so harsh and regular up there, everyone has experience with driving in that kind of weather.

In Louisiana, not only does nobody have snow tires or have much experience with driving in winter conditions, but it never gets cold enough to allow for that good packed-snow traction. When Louisiana does get their taste of winter, it's far more likely to be the type of winter with the near-freezing temperatures and messy precipitation types (freezing rain, etc.) that lead to especially icy, slick roads.

If they only closed the roads 2 or 3 days it might be OK.

If they closed them based on observed highway conditions, fine....

They close them well before there are any icy or even snowy conditions. Sometimes, the icy conditions don't ever happen.  Last night Yesterday afternoon it was 36 degrees when they closed I-220 & I-49.

This morning (and last night) were both situations WHERE there was zero ice on the freeway or overpasses.  Took I-49 SB to Mira Myrtis Rd and then exited to US-71.  Traffic was running 75+ up to the forced exit. There were NO icy conditions.

I will concede that SHREVEPORT was a little bit worse. There was probably an inch of snow in town.  That said getting from I-220 to Cedar Grove was a disaster due to the closure of I-49 and the Linwood overpass over the railroad.


Middle ground would be closing based upon observed conditions not on the guess of Todd Warren.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2022, 02:34:12 PM by bwana39 »
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Scott5114

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As mentioned above, a good middle ground would be to simply delay closing the road until winter precipitation is actually accumulating. Or even to set up VMSes describing the road conditions and allow a driver to decide whether proceeding in their current vehicle is safe or not. After all, if you venture out on a snowy road and get stuck, or drive too fast for conditions and slide off the road, that's really your fault, not LaDOTD's.

I'll be in Shreveport next month en route to the Natchez meet, and if I end up encountering road closures when it's not even below freezing yet, I'm gonna be pretty mad. There's no good reason to close a road when it's 35į.

Consider this: Oklahoma City gets snow only about once a year as well, and you don't hear of the interstates here closing unless they are physically untraversable in an ordinary car. It may not be a good idea to go out on the Interstate, but that's not ODOT making that choice for you, it's you.
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cjk374

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As mentioned above, a good middle ground would be to simply delay closing the road until winter precipitation is actually accumulating. Or even to set up VMSes describing the road conditions and allow a driver to decide whether proceeding in their current vehicle is safe or not. After all, if you venture out on a snowy road and get stuck, or drive too fast for conditions and slide off the road, that's really your fault, not LaDOTD's.

I'll be in Shreveport next month en route to the Natchez meet, and if I end up encountering road closures when it's not even below freezing yet, I'm gonna be pretty mad. There's no good reason to close a road when it's 35į.

Consider this: Oklahoma City gets snow only about once a year as well, and you don't hear of the interstates here closing unless they are physically untraversable in an ordinary car. It may not be a good idea to go out on the Interstate, but that's not ODOT making that choice for you, it's you.

It is the night of 3/11/22 as I type this. I have snow on the ground here at my house in Simsboro, LA after the daytime high was 67. I haven't heard of road closures yet. But the forcast for next Saturday is sunny & warm with a high of 72. So hopefully this "last" taste of winter will be the last for the year & the weekend of the meet will not have any road closures anywhere.
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bwana39

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It was 66 before the front blew through in Shreveport yesterday. Where I live outside of Texarkana, there was some patchy snow this morning, but nothing significant. It is nearly to 40 at 10:00AM. It is supposed to get at least as warm today as it was yesterday.

Hope you guys enjoy the get together. My youngest grandson is 1 this week and we are getting together the same day as the meet.

I don't think they closed any freeways this time, but they did go out and replace the batteries in the flashing lights on the barricades that they keep staged beside the freeway from November to April.
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CtrlAltDel

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I don't think they closed any freeways this time, but they did go out and replace the batteries in the flashing lights on the barricades that they keep staged beside the freeway from November to April.

I noticed that when I went poking around on Street View last time the road was closed. I'm surprised that they haven't installed something more permanent, like you'll see in the northern plain states.
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Interstates clinched: 4, 57, 275 (IN-KY-OH), 465 (IN), 640 (TN), 985
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