Roads and bridges close and collapse in wake of Hurricane Ida
August 31, 2021
Although Hurricane Ida is now a tropical depression, it continues to dump major flood-inducing rain in Mississippi, causing infrastructure damage as it moves northeast toward Tennessee.
Bridge struck by barge in Louisiana
Several significant road closures remain in place in Louisiana as crews clear up debris.
As of Tuesday morning, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development was reporting that Interstate 10 eastbound from the Texas state line to the Mississippi state line is open to traffic. However, I-10 westbound between Gramercy and Prairieville remained shut down as LaDOTD continues to remove debris from Hurricane Ida.
On Monday, I-10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans was open for emergency responders only. LaDOTD urged motorists to keep eastbound lanes on I-10 clear, especially between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, for response efforts to Hurricane Ida.
Additionally, LaDOTD is reporting that Interstate 12 in both directions from Baton Rouge to Slidell is open. As with I-10, motorists need to keep lanes open for emergency response.
Northbound lanes on Interstate 55 from University Avenue to the Mississippi state line are off limits because of debris removal. Also, U.S. 51 in both directions from LaPlace to Mississippi are shut down due to debris and high water.
In the Jefferson Parish town of Lafitte, a barge struck the Kerner Swing Bridge on Sunday during the impact of Hurricane Ida. Earlier that day, 22 barges broke loose in St. Bernard Parish. It is unclear whether the two events are related as of publications.
Power outages in the state remain high. As of Tuesday afternoon, PowerOutage.us was still reporting more than 1 million outages.
Go to 511LA.org or call 888-ROAD-511 (888-762-3511) for the latest road closure information.
Mississippi road collapses during Hurricane Ida
Meanwhile in Mississippi, several roads remain shut down while one highway collapsed, killing two people.
On Tuesday, Aug. 31, the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s Troop K confirmed a road collapse in George County. Specifically, a small section of Highway 26 near Crossroads Road collapsed, leaving a deep gap on the roadway. Several motorists driving at night failed to notice the missing portion. Consequently, two people were killed and 10 were injured. That portion of the highway is inaccessible indefinitely.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is reporting several road closures throughout the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. In Walthall County, state Route 27 at High School Drive is not open to traffic due to downed power lines. Highway 90 from the Bay Saint Louis Bridge to the Biloxi Bay Bridge is impassable as crews clear off sand on the roadway.
There are low-hanging utility lines reported throughout Amite, Lincoln and Pike counties. Utility workers are repairing utility lines along various routes in these counties. Motorists are to reduce speed and use caution at locations with low-hanging utility lines and where utility work is being performed.
For the latest road closures, go to MDOTtraffic.com.
State and federal emergency declarations related to Hurricane Ida
On Sunday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a federal emergency declaration for the Southern and Western service centers for Hurricane Ida. Specifically, states in that area include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. As a result, drivers providing directly to relief efforts are exempt from certain federal regulations in those states. Truckers can find more information about that declaration here.
Ahead of the storm, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Aug. 26. On Sunday, Gov. Edwards requested a presidential major disaster declaration for Hurricane Ida from President Joe Biden, which was immediately granted. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a state of emergency on Sunday, Aug. 29.
According to the International Registration Plan, Alabama is temporarily suspending IRP and IFTA requirements for motor vehicles engaging in disaster relief due to Hurricane Ida. LL