Icy Weather Knocks Out Power, Stymies Travel In Capital Region

Feb 15, 2021

Baton Rouge-area residents awoke Monday to widespread road closures and power outages after freezing temperatures and precipitation blanketed the capital region in ice.

State and local officials announced the closure of roads and businesses and imposed curfews throughout the day, as meteorologists predict even colder overnight temperatures heading into Tuesday.

East Baton Rouge Parish officials shut down Interstate 110 and Central Thruway Sunday night as temperatures dropped.

State officials shut down Interstate 10 from the Interstate 12 split in Baton Rouge to Lafayette after reports of several crashes on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, including a 14-car pile up overnight.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has deemed all state-maintained roads in East Baton Rouge unsafe because of icy conditions.

The determination follows several road closures by state and local officials.

The storm has forced the closure of all but two of the bridges over the Mississippi River between

St. Charles Parish and Pointe Coupee. Only the O.K. Allen Bridge in north Baton Rouge, commonly known as the “Old Bridge,” and the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Gramercy remain open.

Travelers between Baton Rouge and Lafayette are being redirected to Highway 190. DOTD reports that crews are working diligently to salt the U.S. 190 Bridge open for travel between Baton Rouge and Lafayette, but advises that only emergency vehicles and personnel utilize the route.

During a virtual press briefing Monday evening, Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state recorded 150 storm-related automotive accidents that resulted in some moderate to mild injuries, but no fatalities.

The state department of health has linked one fatality to the storm. A 50-year-old Carencro man died after slipping on ice and hitting his head on the ground.

Power Outages

As of 3 p.m. Monday, utility companies reported more than 115,000 power outages across the state, including more than 45,000 in East Baton Rouge Parish and nearly 20,000 in Livingston Parish.

In St. Helena Parish, the wintry weather left nearly three-quarters of customers without electricity.

Edwards asked Louisianans to conserve electricity, suggesting that people set their thermostats between 65 and 68 degrees to reduce strain on the electrical grid and avoid the rolling blackouts Texas experienced Monday.

“The most likely course that will lead to blackouts is if people don’t heed that advice,” Edwards said. "By Friday this winter weather event will be over, but it's just Monday.”

Curfews

Public officials across the region declared states of emergency and imposed curfews to keep residents off icy roads.

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor President Sharon Weston Broome declared a state of emergency Monday morning, allowing the city-parish to tap into state resources to respond to the storm. Hours later she imposed a 8 p.m. to 7 a.m curfew for East Baton Rouge Parish residents.

The city of Zachary will be under a curfew from 8 p.m. Monday through 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to Mayor David Amrhein and Police Chief David McDavid.

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew for parish residents aimed at keeping non-essential personnel off of the roads during the iciest conditions Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

West Baton Rouge officials announced a curfew starting at 9 p.m. and lasting until dawn Tuesday.

Road closures

The latest information on statewide road closures can be found at 511la.org.

Here is parish-by-parish summary of closures:

East Baton Rouge Parish

  • I-110
  • Central Thruway from Greenwell Springs to Choctaw
  • Scenic/Airline
  • McClellland/Airline
  • Scenic/Blount
  • Scenic at the Monte Sano bridge
  • Highland/Bluebonnet
  • Jones Creek/South Harrell's Ferry Bridge
  • Jackson Rd/Edwards Rd
  • Pearis Road near Milldale Rd
  • 300 Glenmore
  • 1600 Drehr
  • 22nd at North Boulevard
  • 1603 Stonegate
  • Old Hammond at Blvd De Province
  • Stan at Oak Knoll
  • Goodwood at Sylfan
  • Goodwood at Old Hammond to Sherwood
  • Old Hammond at East Contour
  • Innovation Park from Nicholson to Lila
  • Jim Price Rd from Greenwell Springs Rd to Pride P.Hudson
  • South Acadian/Claycut
  • South Harrell Ferry/Millerville
  • Winbourne/Hiawatha
  • Pride Baywood Road/Carson Road
  • 1558 Normandy
  • Greenwell Springs at North Flannery
  • 700 Drehr Avenue
  • Sharp at Mollylea
  • 12900 Wallace
  • 31980 Greenwell Springs at Stoney Point Burch
  • Fairfields at Paulson
  • Mason at Alexander

Updated information on closures can be found through the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and Red Stick Ready social media accounts.

Ascension Parish

  • Bluff Road, also known as La. 928, is closed near La. 74 due to downed tree. Trees have fallen across or traffic lights are without power at the following intersections:
  • La. 431 at La. 621
  • Burnside Avenue at Roosevelt Street
  • Burnside Avenue at Ascension Street
  • Moody Dixon Road at La. 933
  • Roads and bridges that have ice, but are passable:
  • La. 621 bridge at Duplessis Primary School
  • La. 941 overpass at I-10
  • La. 42 bridge at Calle Sevario Street
  • La. 431 bridge at Summerfield Road.

Livingston Parish

  • La. 63, south of La. 449, due to ice
  • River Road between Florida Boulevard and Government Drive, due to downed trees
  • La. 22 bridge over Tickfaw River in Killian
  • Juban Road overpass at I-10 iced over.
  • Pete's Highway overpass at I-10 iced over.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office is providing periodic updates on road closures on its Facebook page.