ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH — Three weeks after a deadly pileup on I-55, all lanes of the interstate are set to reopen Monday.
DOTD says that all repairs have been completed on southbound lanes, and those lanes are open to vehicles.
On the northbound lanes, DOTD says that a partial deck replacement has been completed and “final preparations for reopening are in progress”. They are targeting a noon opening for those lanes.
The reopening comes ahead of the busy Thanksgiving travel rush, which is expected to be one of the busiest ever.
Seven people died, and more than five dozen were injured after a horrific crash involving 160 vehicles. Officials believe super fog, a mixture of dense fog and smoke from nearby marsh fires, created hazardous driving conditions.
One driver, who asked for their name not be published, described the scene to UWK:
“It’s super foggy. It’s literally five cars in front of me. As of now, we’re told there are several cars with numerous fatalities. They said to get comfortable and that you would be here a while. I’m thanking my lucky stars I wasn’t a minute before because I would have been in the middle of it. There have been six fire trucks and the fire chief here for 30 minutes, and it’s starting to cleared out now. It’s a bad scene. The fog is getting thicker. I only see three cars in front of me now. The accident was only 50-100 yards in front of me, but I couldn’t see it. It’s backed up to Ponchatoula and closed interstate to mile marker 22.”
State police said the fiery pileup created intense fires on the interstate, compromising sections of I-55.