Official explains problems with keeping ice off roadways - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Official explains problems with keeping ice off roadways

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Crews spray de-icing agents on US 61 in Baton Rouge early Wednesday morning. Crews spray de-icing agents on US 61 in Baton Rouge early Wednesday morning.
DPW Director David Guillory explains why they can't just put de-icing agents on the roads to keep them open. DPW Director David Guillory explains why they can't just put de-icing agents on the roads to keep them open.
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Mayor Kip Holden and other Baton Rouge officials held a news conference to update the public on the latest conditions, especially the roads.

David Guillory, the director of the Department of Public Works, explained why they are having so many problems keeping the roadways passable, even with de-icing materials.

"Depending on the precipitation rates, you can't keep elevated structures safe to drive, no matter how much you put on it," Guillory said. "It depends on the temperature. It depends on the precipitation."

Guillory said they have spoken with states like Illinois and others that deal with this a lot more than Louisiana and there is no de-icing agent that is 100 percent effective. Crews have been using glycol, sand and salt in their battle against the icy conditions that have shut down all three interstates through Baton Rouge. Guillory broke down what each can do and the problems associated with them.

"The glycol has worked really well. Last night, we did start having problems once the sun went down. The sand can help add friction, but once you have too much precipitation the sand becomes ineffective. The salt, which has been very hard to get, we're actually… there are 18-wheelers waiting in line at Avery Island for salt from a multitude of agencies. The salt can be effective in actually keeping the water from freezing, but again, if you have too much precipitation and too much wind, you're still going to get freezing rains," Guillory explained.

He said they have seen pretty good success with the glycol, but are in competition with other entities to get that product as well. He added they are not really experienced with freezing temperatures at these levels that persist for this long. They are taking notes, snapping pictures and documenting what works and what doesn't work to help them handle similar situations in the future. He also gave the plan for handling the ice going forward.

"Throughout the day we're going to continue to de-ice with the glycol and use rock salt mixed with sand on some of the elevated structures to see how it holds up, especially through the night. We're going to get above freezing today at some point, I think for five or six hours. But once the sun goes down, we're going to re-visit a situation which we're under sub-freezing. I don't think we're going to have the precipitation, so hopefully, we can keep a lot of these roadways open tonight for the major corridors that we get from public safety and we'll just see what happens," Guillory said.

As of now, the best thing or more importantly, the safest thing to do is just wait for the ice to melt.

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