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State Police warn drivers when going to Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

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PONCHATOULA- The annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is set to kick off this weekend and is expected to bring over 300,000 visitors to the area.

The traffic quickly surrounds the interstate and causes dangerous backups and forcing closures of interstate exits.

In an effort to improve the traffic flow, Louisiana State Police Troop L encourages drivers to follow the following alternate route advisories entering and leaving the area.

 From Baton Rouge:  Exit Interstate 12 Eastbound at Pumpkin Center exit #35, proceed south to LA 22, then continue east on LA 22 into Ponchatoula.

From Covington / Slidell:  Exit Interstate 12 Westbound at LA 445 exit #47, proceed south to LA 22, then continue west on LA 22 into Ponchatoula.

From Mandeville:  Take LA 22 west into Ponchatoula.

From New Orleans area:  Take the Causeway Bridge into Mandeville and proceed to LA 22 west into Ponchatoula.

Louisiana State Police will be working in collaboration with law enforcement agencies to get impaired drivers off the roads.

Troopers will be focusing on intoxicated drivers, drivers not wearing seat belts, children not wearing seat belts, distracted driving, and any aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding and following cars too close.

According to State Police, developing a plan that includes these guidelines will provide citizens the opportunity to enjoy festival activities without jeopardizing their life and the lives of others who may be on the road:

- Do not drive distracted

-Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin

- Before drinking,  please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys

- If  impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend, or a family member for a safe ride home

- If there is a suspected impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement

- If drivers are aware or someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely

- Always buckle up

To report impaired drivers or unsafe roadway conditions, dial *LSP (*577) to reach the State Police office closest to you. 

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