Causeway inaccessible between high-rises _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is still closed next to a small snowman in the neutral ground in Metairie, La. Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014.

There is so much ice on the Causeway’s two high-rise sections that maintenance crews and police can’t get over them, leaving eight miles of the bridge inaccessible, according to General Manager Carlton Dufrechou.

The ice this morning was “worse than we anticipated,”and the worst he had seen in his four years overseeing the bridge’s operations. At least two-thirds of the bridge has a layer of ice on it, Dufrechou said.

The ice on the high-rises means the eight miles between the two sections are inaccessible to crews and police and cannot be inspected, he said. Instead, Causeway officials were relying on cameras to evaluate the bridge between the two high-rises.

The bascule, the draw-bridge located eight miles from the north shore, is inaccessible as well, but Dufrechou said there is an operator on duty.

De-icing operations can’t begin until the temperatures rises above freezing, something Dufrechou hopes will happen around noon. Officials have not decided which of the two spans to de-ice, but would try to decide which one had less ice on it and clear at least one lane, he said.

The bridge was closed around 1:15 Tuesday afternoon.