Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Chelsea Kennedy, 10, slides down the levee in Vidalia Friday morning after Concordia Parish schools were closed because of the weather.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Chelsea Kennedy, 10, slides down the levee in Vidalia Friday morning after Concordia Parish schools were closed because of the weather.

Mississippi officials: all bridges open; use caution

Published 9:01am Friday, January 24, 2014

NATCHEZ — Road closures have not been reported by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, put roadways in Woodville, Centreville, Liberty, Natchez and Meadville tend to be the worst, Troop M Public Affairs Officer Rusty Boyd said.

“There are places that the roads are slushy,” Boyd said. “Anything on a bridge that has not been tended to is icy. Anyplace where a culvert runs under a highway can be an icy spot.”

Boyd said the sides of hills — the downside or upside — are the worst part.

“Stay inside if you can,” Boyd said. “If you have to get out, just because the speed limit is 55 mph or 65 mph, doesn’t mean you have to drive it. Don’t make any sudden movements. The breaks will get you in trouble pretty quick, just easy movements.”

No serious wrecks have been reported, Boyd said, adding a lot of vehicles have run off the roadways.

“Most of them just needed to be pulled out,” Boyd said.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is reporting all bridges in Southwest Mississippi — Adams, Franklin, Lincoln, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties — are open, including I-55 bridges. MDOT is placing de-icing materials on state-maintained roads and bridges.

MDOT urged motorists to use caution when traveling, however, and said drivers should be aware of the potential for lingering black ice patches in those counties.

Natchez Police Captain Tom McGehee said NPD has had four reported weather-related wrecks since snow and sleet began falling Thursday evening.

McGehee said a vehicle slid into a MDOT truck on the Mississippi River Bridge at approximately 7 p.m. last night.

Icy road conditions also caused a wreck at the corner of Main Street and Orange Avenue at 1 a.m., as well as two wrecks on D’Evereux Drive, one shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday and the other around 1 a.m. An ambulance was called to the 1 a.m. wreck, but McGehee did not have a report concerning injuries.

Adams County’s government offices will be closed today because of the weather, and county officials said the steps to courthouse and county building were slippery and presented a falling hazard.

Waste Management has suspended garbage collection services in Adams, Franklin and Wilkinson counties as well as Concordia Parish because of the weather. All regularly scheduled Friday collection routes will be collected Saturday.

United Mississippi Bank officials said all branches in the Miss-Lou will have a delayed opening today. All branches will open at 10 a.m.

Natchez mayoral assistant Temple Hendricks said the city’s offices will be open until 5 p.m today.

The Natchez Transit Authority will be open today, but because of weather conditions will be running on a skeleton crew, Hendricks said, and busses will run only for medical and work calls.

The Concordia Parish Courthouse — including the sheriff’s office, clerk of court’s office, district attorney’s office and public defender’s office — is closed today.

Vidalia City Hall will be open until 5 p.m. today.

Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis said officers are finding roads in the city clear and no closures have been reported.

“Motorists should be attentive and drive cautiously throughout the day,” Lewis said. “There may be patches of ‘black ice,’ but we haven’t experience any as of yet.”