Durel Defends Public Closures After Winter Storm Leon – Lafayette Live
As winter storm Leon brought frigid temperatures and icy roads to Acadiana, public officials were forced to make tough decisions, closing roads, bridges, and schools. City-Parish President Joey Durel joined "Mornings with Ken and Bernie" today to discuss the emergency precautions.
"I heard Dave Baker (KATC TV-3 Meteorologist) refer to Johnston street as looking like a zamboni had passed over it," joked the City-Parish President.
Durel said his decisions to send LCG employees home all resulted from reviewing the best information available at the time, however, that didn't stop him from second guessing those decisions later.
I questioned my call Friday when I made everybody come to work, I questioned my call Tuesday when I made everybody leave, and yesterday when I had everybody stay home. I think I got one out of three right.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, and I’m really not sorry because I think we made the right decisions based on the information we had. - Joey Durel
The frigid temperatures and icy road conditions did lead to many accidents in Acadiana despite police and media warning people to stay off the roads. Between 6am and 10am Wednesday morning, 33 accidents were reported in Lafayette. Durel says these accidents had the potential to be more dangerous due to the inclement weather.
You think of an accident, and I’d suspect 90-percent or more were fender-benders, but if you have a serious accident and you’re stranded, not only do you have that inconvenience, but you’re also in 20-degree weather. - Joey Durel
In the end, Durel reminded that all decisions made regarding road, bridge, and school closures were made with public safety in mind.
"Ultimately, it’s about safety," said the City-Parish President. "We don’t make these calls easily."