The Dept. of Transportation & Development must check the integrity of I-55 after the crash before it can reopen to traffic.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – Louisiana State Police say an 8th person has died following that fiery crash on I-55 Monday morning.
Police and DOTD officials remain at the crash site removing debris and cleaning the roadway. I-55 north and south will remain closed as crews continue their work.
“DOTD bridge inspectors are onsite conducting preliminary inspections and have identified multiple areas requiring bridge repairs. A comprehensive structural inspection will take place once the bridge surface is completely clear of debris, diesel, and other chemicals,” State Police said in a release Tuesday afternoon.
At least 168 vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction pileup on I-55 between Ponchatoula and LaPlace as “super fog” blanketed south Louisiana Monday morning. Smoke from nearby marsh fires and foggy conditions combined to create deadly weather conditions.
At least 63 people were injured and transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of injuries from critical to minor. Many victims sought medical assistance on their own.
A portion of the I-55 crash scene caught on fire shortly after the initial incident. One tanker truck carrying a hazardous liquid was being off-loaded due to a compromised tank/trailer.
“A testing consultant could potentially begin bridge deck scans this evening to provide additional data regarding the integrity of the damaged concrete. These tests will determine the extent of the damage and the scope of repairs needed. The reopening of the roadway will be carefully coordinated with LSP and DOTD personnel, pending the results of the inspections,” LSP said.
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.
In addition, the public is encouraged to utilize the Louisiana Department of Health behavioral health resource guide for all those affected by this tragic incident.
Further, if you were involved in the crash or were a witness, please contact Troop B (TroopB@LA.gov) and provide Troopers with your contact information.
The removal of vehicles will take additional time. Following the clean-up of the interstate, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will inspect the bridge for any deficiencies.