Most of the metro New Orleans area will be returning to business as usual Thursday, as a flurry of schools and government entities announced Wednesday they’ll be open after shutting down for two days because of the cold weather and storm.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said City Hall would be open.
New Orleans public schools will also be open, except for Edna Karr High School, which will be closed due to heating problems. Catholic schools in the city will also be open, as will public schools in Jefferson Parish.
Flights at Louis Armstrong International Airport resumed Wednesday, as did most bus transportation. Streetcar lines remained shut down, but buses were running on their routes instead.
A number of roads are still shut down. However, Interstate 10 and Interstate 610 reopened about 4:30 p.m.
Residents awoke Wednesday not to a winter wonderland covered in a blanket of snow but to a frigid, largely desolate place where dozens of road closures that were certain to make travel difficult seemed to be the biggest inconvenience.
“This is the word of the day: ice. It’s dangerous,” Landrieu said during a midday press briefing. “Today our residents must remain vigilant. We have risks that still remain. Icy roadways are in fact life-threatening.”
Pre-dawn temperatures lingered in the upper 20s and lower 30s across the area. Wind chills in the single digits and lower teens in some areas ensured an icy start to the day, which was expected to warm only to the mid- or upper 30s before the mercury again dipped overnight, prompting a hard freeze warning for both sides of the lake. That warning will remain in effect until 9 a.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
Authorities throughout the day Wednesday reopened a number of roads and bridges. They are.
__The northbound span of the Causeway Bridge was opened from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p..m.
__ All of Interstate 10 in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.
— The elevated West Bank Expressway was reopened a little after 11 a.m.
— The Lapalco Bridge in Harvey was reopened about 12:30 p.m., according to Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts.
— The Earhart Expressway was opened in both directions about 2 p.m.
— Both directions of Interstate 310, from Louisiana 18 to U.S. 90, were reopened, as was Louisiana 3127 from Louisiana 3160 to Interstate 310, St. Charles Parish Government said.
— The Airline Highway spillway bridge was open and would be salted to keep it open.
— The Danziger Bridge, reduced to one lane yesterday, was once again completely open.
— Both lanes of the Belle Chasse Tunnel and Woodland Bridge were open, the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
— The state said the Sunshine Bridge that connects Ascension and St. James parishes was open thanks to de-icing efforts.
— The Des Allemands bridge was reopened in both directions.
— I-310 from Airline Highway to River Road in Destrehan is open.
__ Judge Seeber Bridge (Claiborne Avenue Bridge) has been opened.
__ All bridges in St. Bernard Parish were reopened.
While most surface roads remained open, Louisiana State Police advised motorists to remain off the streets unless necessary because of the possibility of ice patches.
The Regional Transit Authority, which Tuesday night suspended service on the West Bank, had operations restored by Wednesday morning. However, the RTA said several detours were in place and that riders should expect delays.
Updated schedules can be found at the RTA’s website or by calling the RTA Rideline at (504) 248-3900.
Jefferson Transit, which suspended services Tuesday night, began limited service again at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Riders on the east bank with questions are asked to call (504) 818-1077, while riders on the West Bank are asked to call (504) 367-7433.
Roads or bridges that stayed closed were:
— Louisiana 1, both directions at the Leeville Bridge in Grand Isle
— Causeway Boulevard at Jefferson Highway
— Exit ramp from Interstate 10 east to Downman Road
— Leon C. Simon Bridge
— Judge Perez Bridge, reduced to one lane
— Louisiana 23 high-rise bridge in Empire
— Interstate 310, both directions from Louisiana 18 to U.S. 90
— Louisiana 3127, from Louisiana 3160 to Interstate 310
— I-10 east and west at the Bonnet Carre Spillway
— Louisiana 3142 railroad overpass
— Veterans Memorial Bridge on Louisiana 3213, both directions
— Interstate 55, both directions from mile post 0 to mile post 23
— I-10, both directions from the Bonnet Carre Spillway to the St. James Parish line
— I-55 high-rise bridge, both directions
— Interstate 12, closed between Louisiana 1077 in St. Tammany Parish and U.S. 61-Airline Highway in East Baton Rouge Parish