Tallying freeze costs
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As Louisiana began to warm up, agencies were starting to tally costs and schools began thinking about make-up days.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration said Thursday the state’s response to the blast of winter weather has cost state government about $5.2 million. The Division of Administration released the estimate, saying that includes equipment, supplies, travel and personnel.
Spokeswoman Indira Parrales said the Department of Transportation and Development is still tallying up how much overtime and salt and liquid de-icer was used to clear as many highways as possible. The Louisiana National Guard activated 450 of its soldiers to help with the road maintenance. And the Louisiana State Police was out in force, assisting with accident response and highway closures.
By midday Thursday, all state routes and the interstate system throughout Louisiana were reopened.
The administration said it will work with agencies on ways “to absorb these weather-related costs in their budget.”
Louisiana State University said it’s considering Saturday classes to make up for three days lost to nasty winter weather.
“At present, and assuming no additional days will be missed, we anticipate the plan would utilize Saturday make-up days and would allow us to maintain the Mardi Gras and spring break holidays,” a news release said. “We are in the process of determining which Saturdays will be designated as make-up class days.”
State government was closed Thursday in 23 parishes. The Secretary of State’s office in Baton Rouge was open even though other state officers were closed, getting ready for elections Saturday.
At the weather’s worst, state government had closed in more than 50 parishes. Ice closed more than 20 highways statewide, including every interstate through Baton Rouge.
, where yards were frosted and streets mostly empty. State police logged dozens of weather-related crashes overnight, but said there were fewer than during the storm last week.