After a deadly & fiery crash involving a 158 vehicle pile-up that shut down I-55, the southbound lanes between Ponchatoula & Laplace are now back open. The Department of Transportation & Development said the interstate will reduce to one lane near the crash site for the time being. The northbound lanes remain closed at this time.
DOTD inspectors and consultants completed the inspection of I-55 southbound after Monday’s accident and have determined that the roadway is safe for travel.
Super fog is what officials have said triggered the crash on I-55 around 8:40 a.m. on Oct. 23 that has killed eight people so far. That number is expected to increase after several people were rushed to nearby hospitals, some in critical condition.
DOTD’s Director of Communications Rodney Mallett explained that emergency inspections started Tuesday on I-55.
“Our partners cleaned the bridge to clean up all the vehicles. Then we put down sand and other absorbent substances to clean up the liquid, gas and oil that was on the interstate. We were looking for any cracks, shifts in the deck and damage to the guardrail,” said Mallett.
The southbound lanes reopened Thursday, Oct. 26 around 10 a.m. I-55 northbound remains closed at this time as inspections are still ongoing and there is no timeline for when it will reopen. Hwy. 51 is open as an alternate route.
State Police requests public’s help
As the investigation into the multi-vehicle crash continues, the Louisiana State Police is asking anyone with dash camera or cell phone footage prior to, during, or after the event, to submit footage through an online evidence portal. (Or scan picture to upload)
“Troopers greatly appreciate the assistance received from the community. This information has proven to be helpful in identifying vehicles as well as the series of events that occurred,” said LSP in a release.
Drivers and owners of vehicles involved in the crash who are looking for information on where their vehicle was towed are encouraged to contact Troop B by email at TroopB@la.gov. Vehicle owners looking to retrieve personal items or their vehicles from the tow yard can do so by providing proof of vehicle ownership to the tow company where their vehicle is being stored.