Road closings continue to paralyze Gulf States in Katrina’s wake

| Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's onslaught on the Gulf Coast left roads in shambles and transportation spotty as rescue and relief efforts continued Wednesday, Aug. 31.

The Louisiana State Police ordered all roads into and out of the New Orleans area closed. All roads in Jefferson Parish - the area in which New Orleans is located - are closed until further notice. Large portions of Interstate 10, including the Twinspan Bridges, which were destroyed by the storm and flooding, have also been closed.

Katrina moved ashore near the Louisiana/Mississippi border shortly after 6 a.m. CDT Monday, Aug. 29, as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it dissipates over the eastern United States.

In Katrina's wake, a number of smaller Louisiana roadways are also facing closures due to flooding or unspecified structural damage, including:

  • U.S. 61 at Kenner;
  • Belle Chasse Tunnel on Louisiana Route 23;
  • U.S. 90 at Chief Menteur highway, and at the Lafourche/St. Charles Parish line;
  • U.S. 61 at the St. Charles Parish line;
  • Westbank Expressway 90B;
  • Louisiana Route 3127;
  • Bourg Larous Highway;
  • Louisiana Route 1 from state Route 943 to state Route 18, and from state Route 943 to state Route 18;
  • Louisiana Route 308 at the Valentine Bridge;
  • Louisiana Route 308 from Louisiana Route 1247;
  • Highway 11 at Little Irish Bayou, and south of Slidell;
  • Louisiana Route 416 between Louisiana Route 415 and Louisiana Route 983
  • Louisiana Route 59 at Louisiana Route 1088

Because south Louisiana interstates are heavily congested, officials are advising alternate routes of travel when exiting New Orleans are as follows:

·       Louisiana Route 3127 to Louisiana Route 70 to Louisiana Route 1 North

  • U.S. 90 West to I-49 North
  • U.S. 61 North
  • I-10 East to I-59 North
  • Causeway to I-12 West to I-55 North
  • I-10 West to I-55 North

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety were advising all traffic to avoid travel south of Interstate 20 in the state, except for emergency vehicles. Conditions in the area are expected to continue to deteriorate.

Road conditions in Alabama are beginning to show improvement. Sections of Interstate 10 that were previously closed have begun to open up, under strong advisories to avoid the area if possible. However, storm-related road problems - including flooding and downed power lines - continue to close roads in southwestern Alabama near Mobile and Baldwin Counties.

Because of the nature of a natural disaster, road conditions and closings are prone to change at a moment's notice. For an up-to-date list of closings in specific areas, visit the following states' Web sites for more information: