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Repairs to I-55 could take up to 2 weeks after massive, fiery pileup crash

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UPDATE: I-55 southbound will be closed Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and once it reopens, the left lane will be closed with the right lane passable. Both sides should fully reopen later this month.


MANCHAC - More than one week after a fiery pileup crash on I-55 left seven people dead and dozens injured, the Louisiana Department of Transportation has finished in-depth inspections of the roadway. 

From the inspections, crews have determined both sides of the roadway where the crash took place are in need of extensive repairs. 

"We have an emergency contractor who is assembling crews and equipment," said Rodney Mallett, spokesman for DOTD. 

According to Mallet, repairs could take at least two weeks. The damage to I-55 Northbound was significantly worse than the southbound side, but both sides will require deck replacements due to spalling. 

Crews have already begun working on I-55 South and one lane is currently open to drivers. Over the weekend, all lanes will be shut down for about six hours for crews to move the barriers and re-stripe the roadway.

"Then we're going to start the permanent repairs on the lane that people are currently driving on," Mallett said. 

Once details are finalized, DOTD will notify the public about what time the weekend closure is expected to take place. 

Next week, the emergency road repair team will begin removing the top portion of the deck I-55 Northbound. Those repairs will take at least 14 days to complete. 

While construction is ongoing, DOTD urges drivers in the area to use caution when driving through a work zone. Drivers should continue to use US 51 as an alternate route. 


Read the full update from DOTD below:

After analyzing the data from multiple inspections, DOTD is preparing to begin permanent repairs for the portion of I-55 impacted by a multi-vehicle accident on Monday, October 23.

Northbound: Inspection results show that, due to extensive spalling, a partial deck replacement is needed for the impacted area.
The top portion of the deck will be removed. Once complete, crews will replace that top layer with a modified concrete overlay. Contractors will begin mobilizing next week. Once repairs begin, and assuming no new damages are discovered, the northbound repairs could take up to two weeks to complete.

Southbound: DOTD and its contractors have already begun permanent repairs to the southbound lanes.

Contractors are currently working on the right lane in the area at the crash site, removing the damaged portion of the deck, and preparing to begin patching. DOTD plans to temporarily close I-55 southbound for a six-hour period sometime this weekend. At that time, crews will switch the single-lane closure near the crash site. Interstate 55 southbound will reopen, and traffic will taper down to the right lane near the crash site as crews begin to repair the left lane. Those repairs may take up to two weeks to complete. Once done, all of I-55 southbound will be permanently repaired and open to the public.

DOTD will notify the public with details of this weekend’s southbound closure once details are finalized. Motorists should expect to see repair work on the north and southbound decks in the coming weeks. DOTD is advising southbound travelers to be aware of their surroundings and of the crews working on-site. Northbound travelers will continue using Old US-51 as an alternate route for the time being.


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