Isidore mucks up interstates, highways

| 9/27/2002

As Tropical Storm Isidore descended upon the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, the flooding rain bogged down traffic on I-10, one of the nation's three coast-to-coast interstates. Even as the waters subsided, daylight found the interstate and roadways amuck with mud and debris.

With 2,459.96 miles of interstate highway, I-10 stretches across eight states: 240.90 miles in California; 391.94 in Arizona; 164.28 in New Mexico; 880.60 in Texas; 274.42 in Louisiana; 77.10 in Mississippi; 66.30 in Alabama; and 362.81 in Florida. As one of three coast-to-coast interstates (the others being I-80 and I-90), I-10 serves the southern tier of the United States by providing the main east-west link from Santa Monica and Los Angeles, CA, in the west to Jacksonville, FL, in the east.

In Louisiana, I-10 eastbound and westbound was closed at the Metairie Road Railroad Underpass, according to the Louisiana State Police. The New Orleans Police Department directed westbound traffic off of the interstate and the state police directed eastbound traffic onto I-610 at the Jefferson/Orleans line. For state police closures, call 1-800-469-4828. To report roadway emergencies, dial 577 (*LSP) on your cell phone.

In Mississippi, I-10 and U.S. 90 have reopened, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation. To contact the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, call (601) 352-9100, or for emergencies, call 1-800-222-6362.

In Alabama, U.S. 90 is closed between Bankhead Tunnel and Cochran Bridge due to water over the road. Hazmat carriers must use alternate routes. The Mobile Bay Causeway (U.S. 90/98) between Mobile and Spanish Fort also is closed due to flooding. No closures were reported for I-10. For road closure information, contact the Alabama Department of Transportation at (334) 242-6358.

In the Florida Panhandle area, both eastbound and westbound lanes of I-10 are open. With water and debris on the roadway, U.S. 98 is slowed in several areas and closed in a few other areas. For information about road closures, contact the Florida Department of Transportation Public Information Office at 1-888-638-0250.
--Rene Tankersley, feature editor