I-55 set to reopen in both directions next week

Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 4:11 PM CST
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ST. JOHN PARISH, La. (WVUE) - Officials on Friday (Nov. 10) say Interstate 55, which has been closed since a massive 168-car pile-up, is expected to reopen in both directions next week, barring any weather delays.

A full closure of I-55 southbound is planned for Sunday, Nov. 12, beginning at 6:30 a.m. Officials say drivers should anticipate Sunday traffic delays and allow extra time for safe travel.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) says major repairs have been completed in the southbound lanes. The closure is for crews to finish striping and remove cones and other traffic control materials.

Concrete work in the northbound lanes has also been completed. Crews will need to complete barrier rail repairs and restripe over the weekend before final cleanup.

Travels can continue using Old US-51 (the low road) as an alternate route.

Chris Branch says he travels north from New Orleans frequently and the two-lane highway makes his trips more of a headache.

“It’s a lot more traffic,” he says.

Branch says he’s been visiting the popular restaurant Middendorf’s for two decades and has never had so much trouble with other drivers.

“Everybody’s trying to go fast on this road,” Branch said. “You’re not supposed to go fast on this road.”

Management at Middendorf’s says their business has taken a hit. Office Administrator Kylie Ingram says they’re only seeing about 30% of their normal business.

“It’s a lot of traffic for the two-lane highway. It kind of makes pulling out of here in the evenings for our staff and patrons a little bit more risky,” Ingram said.

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