Louisiana officials remind truckers about ban on commercial vehicles

January 29, 2024

Ryan Witkowski


Officials in Louisiana are reminding truckers about a ban on commercial vehicles in a construction zone along Interstate 20.

Citing “numerous recent crashes involving 18-wheelers,” the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development recently issued a statement reminding drivers of the ban on semis currently in place on I-20 through Bossier City, La.

According to the agency, these crashes have created road closures that “often last for several hours” and, along with hindering construction, are “significantly impacting traffic flow in the region.”

Since construction began in September 2023, all motorists have been encouraged to use I-220 as a detour. However, in December, the decision was made to ban big trucks in the work zone. This would give Louisiana State Police the ability to issue a citation to truckers who ignore the detour.

The impetus for the ban was the start of phase 2 of the construction project, which saw “concrete barriers and more narrow bridge crossings,” making it difficult for truckers to squeeze through.

The Louisiana DOT said digital message boards are placed ahead of each I-220 interchange in Shreveport and Bossier City alerting commercial vehicles not to enter I-20. The agency added that despite this, hundreds of truckers choose to ignore the warnings each day.

“When some of these truck drivers drive through, they think as a professional driver that they can safely navigate this,” DOT spokesperson Erin Buchanan told KSLA News. “Many of them do, hundreds make it through every day… But all it takes is one roadway departure crash or one jackknife of these large trucks to just put us in complete disarray as far as our transportation system goes.”

Buchanan said lanes in the construction zone have been narrowed from the standard 12 feet to around 9.5 feet.

“An 18-wheeler is about 8.5 feet wide on average,” she said. “So they have about 6 inches of wiggle room on each side if they’re going to insist on traveling through.”

As for those who roll the dice and get caught, state law specifies they could face fines up to $500. Since the ban went into effect, Louisiana State Police have issued “more than 200 warnings and citations” to truckers who have ignored the detour.

Louisiana DOT said that when the stretch of interstate currently under construction is at full capacity, between 70,000 and 100,000 vehicles travel it per day. The rehabilitation project is expected to be completed in late 2025. LL