Road conditions continue to improve in Katrina aftermath

| Thursday, September 08, 2005

As emergency crews along the Gulf Coast get their first look at the area's ravaged infrastructure, officials throughout the region are forecasting a hefty cost for repairing damaged and obliterated roadways.

The Louisiana State Police ordered all roads into and out of the New Orleans area closed after the storm. Large portions of Interstate 10, including the Twinspan Bridges, which were destroyed by the storm and flooding, have also been closed.

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

  • U.S. 51 at Interstate 10, and from Pontchatoula to LaPlace;
  • Interstate 51 south at Interstate 10;
  • U.S. 61 at Kenner City, Shrewsbury Road, and U.S. 61 south at the St. Charles Parish line;
  • U.S. 90 at Interstate 310, and at the Orleans Parish line;
  • River Road at the Orleans Parish line;
  • Interstate 55 southbound south of Ponchatoula;
  • Highway 11 at Little Irish Bayou, and south of Slidell;
  • Interstate 59 southbound to Interstate 10 westbound

In Alabama, storm-related road problems - including flooding and downed power lines - are beginning to ease in storm-stricken Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Most roadways that were closed by the storm were open as of Tuesday, Sept. 6, although drivers remain under strong advisories to avoid the area if possible.

Road conditions have improved dramatically in southern Mississippi. With the exception of U.S. 90, which runs through the state from Alabama to Louisiana, all roadways are open in the state. However, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety is still urging caution as hurricane cleanup continues throughout the area.

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:

In an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Sept. 4, Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said repairs to Interstate 10 and U.S. 90 alone would cost at least $1.5 billion.

At least 100 miles of roadway on U.S. 90 in Louisiana were "basically wiped out," Mineta told The AP, and I-10 in most areas of New Orleans would be unusable until water surrounding the ramps receded.

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