Interstate 10 in Louisiana between Lafayette and Baton Rouge will be closed another 12 to 15 days while crews battle a natural gas well fire near Ramah. The continued closure of this major freight and intermodal route will cause serious delays, will increase costs and could disrupt shipping schedules across the country, says Louisiana Motor Transport Association (LMTA) Executive Director Cathy F. Gautreaux.
The highway over the Atchafalaya Basin between Louisiana State Route 415 and I-49 was not seriously damaged, but it is not safe for vehicles to pass by the fire that is just 100 yards north of I-10. DOTD officials are asking the trucking industry to take alternative routes to avoid the congestion in this area, especially considering the increased holiday traffic anticipated this week. They asked truckers to use I-20 across north Louisiana as the primary east-west corridor, if possible.
The well caught fire on Nov. 15, and officials had predicted that it would be capped by Nov. 18. Authorities continue to re-route westbound I-I0 traffic at State Highway 415 (Lobdell Highway) in Port Allen to U.S.190 West, and then to 1-49 South in Opelousas to Lafayette. Eastbound traffic will take the same route in reverse.
Motorists should expect delays due to the extra volume of traffic on U.S. 190. Other alternate routes are U.S. 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans. Both Mississippi River bridges (I-10 and U.S. 190) in Baton Rouge are currently open.
Gautreaux advises truckers who need more information to call LMTA at 225-928-5682. nformation also is available at the websites of the DOTD (www.dotd.louisiana.gov) and the Louisiana State Police (www.lsp.org).