More than 300 state troopers have been working with nearly 250 National Guard members to rescue stranded motorists. They’ve received more than 2,000 calls for help since the storm hit and continue to respond to residents who need transportation to shelters that have been set up around the state.
Road crews have left a hard snow pack on most roads – instead of scraping down to pavement – because of the cold temperatures, said Department of Transportation head Karl Browning. Road salt only works when it’s about 20 degrees or warmer, he said, so the snow pack helps with traction, though it is still dangerous.
“It’s incredibly important today to ask people to please stay away from the roads if you can possibly do it,” said Browning. “We are acutely aware of the amount of inconvenience to every citizen in the state. It’s not our objective to keep these roads close. It’s our objective to keep these roads open.”
State Police Superintendent Doug Carter repeated Pence’s call to stay off the roads, unless travel is urgent. He pleaded with motorists to not drive around barriers set up on closed roads.
“You endanger not only yourself, but those that might have to come help you,” he said.
State government offices were closed Monday, and Pence had yet to make a decision about when they will re-open. The General Assembly was supposed to begin today but delayed its session – tentatively until 3:30 p.m. today – because of the storm.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her: @MaureenHayden