Officials: City, state roads passable (updated 12:15 p.m.)

Published 11:44 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

As of 12:15 p.m, state roads within Pike County and city roads have been declared passable.

“I just talked with the DOT, and they’re ready to say state roads inside Pike County are pasable,” said Jason Reeves, Troy mayor. “We’re ready to say city roads are passable, but we’re asking everyone to use extreme caution.”

Reeves said county officials are still experiencing issues near Brundidge and a meeting is planned for 2 p.m. to assess the status of county roads.

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“And once again, we want to remind everyone that while roads are passable now, once the sun goes down and gets below freezing again they need to get off the roads because the precipitation will freeze over again,” Reeves said.

Earlier today, John Bergschneider, assistant county engineer, said the county has eight crews working to clear roads. Each crew contains one or two people.

“We are stretched thin,” he said. “But we were fortunate that a lot of people stayed off the road. So, the ice wasn’t packed and it’s melting down really nicely.”

State roads have reopened, but state troopers remain in areas like Highway 29 where patches of roadway are still impassible.

The Alabama Department of Transportation removed barricades along U.S. Highway 231 at around 1 a.m., but patches of ice continued to strand motorists. An 18-wheeler traveling 231 jack-knifed near County Road 7707.

Jeanna Barnes, director of Pike County Emergency Management, said all roads – including state roads – are actually closed and impassible.

“The thing about it is with ALDOT, they are not going to say ‘Roads are closed.’ If it’s closed, it means they are putting up barricades,” Barnes said. “If you look on the website, it says all roads are impassible and impassible means it is not open for normal traffic.”

Once ADOT finishes evaluating conditions, Bergschneider said they would report to the County Commission who will decide if and when the roads reopen.

“City, county and ALDOT officials are working in a coordinated effort to try to get them open as soon as they are deemed safe to travel,” Barnes said.

Bergschneider said the roads still have patches of ice. He and his crews are working on sharp curves.

“We’re trying to blade off the ice. If it doesn’t work, we’re gonna sand it,” Bergschneider said.

He advised motorists venturing out before roads opened to be careful of shaded areas and bridges.

“The thing people need to remember is we have 415 miles of road in Pike County,” Bergschneider said. “And they’re two lanes, so that is 830 miles for eight crews. But we should have pretty good results by Thursday afternoon.”