Louisiana’s timetable for road, power and water system repairs unknown

Gov. John Bel Edwards
Gov. John Bel Edwards (Photo by Wesley Muller)

State officials say there is still no timetable for when state highways will fully reopen because the weather has been so unpredictable.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said on his monthly radio show on 89.3 FM WRKF in Baton Rouge that Interstate 10 from Baton Rouge to Lafayette would undergo a “staged reopening” because temperatures in many parts of the state remained below low freezing Wednesday.

“We’re having significant issues with road conditions, power outages and water systems,” Edwards said. “All of which are linked because we can’t get cruisers to where they need to fix the water systems because the road conditions (are unsafe) and the power outages are causing real issues, too.”

Rodney Mallet, communications director of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said reopening Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 has begun, but said he couldn’t provide “an accurate timeline because the weather people can’t give me an accurate forecast.”

“We salted and we scraped (Tuesday night) planning for sunlight and 43 degrees,” he said, but but it was colder than that and rainy for the greater part of the day

Wednesday afternoon, 113,413 Louisiana households were without power, according to the Poweroutage.us, most of which are in North Louisiana. Sabine Parish has 10,689 of its 16,085 known customers without power and Concordia Parish has 4,150 of its 5,238 known customers without power.

Outages in the Lake Charles area caused the water plants in the system to lose pressure, putting residents under a boil water advisory to help rebuild adequate pressure in the system. 

Aly Neel, communications director for the Louisiana Department of Health, said there is no timetable for when the boil water advisory could end, but “There’s no more winter storm forecasted for now, so that’s good news.”

“We’re working as quickly we can,” she said. “In the meantime we ask residents still running their faucets to stop doing so as soon as temperatures get above freezing.”

“If they see any leaks they should turn their water off at the main,” she said.