MANCHAC, La. (WGNO) — After weeks of traffic delays, the north and southbound lanes of Interstate 55 in St. John the Baptist Parish have reopened.
“That was after about a week’s worth of inspections and two weeks of emergency work that had to be done,” said Daniel Gitlin with the Louisiana Department of Transportation. “There was varying work on each side. A little bit more work on the northbound side. Overall, you’re looking at about 100 feet of concrete work.”
It’s not just the drivers that have been affected by the interstate closure but also nearby businesses.
“It’s been rough,” said Gator’s Den employee Ronald Anderson. “Business has been slow. Everyone’s business around here has been slow.”
Anderson works at Gator’s Den, a restaurant bar below the interstate. As the roads reopen and the area starts to see an influx of drivers, Anderson says they too, hope to see an influx of customers.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, DOTD crews were seen finishing up construction work, striping and removing traffic control devices that were used during emergency repairs.
“The barrier rails needed to be completed and fixed up, patched up and painted and then when all that was done, then obviously the contractor had to restripe all of it to get it, to get it ready to reopen,” Gitlin said.
If you felt like the project was completed fairly quickly, there’s a reason. DOTD officials said this area has around 30,000 cars passing through each day. Therefore, the project was considered “high priority,” which means crews spent all day and night repairing these lanes.
“We had a lot of people calling us and asking us, ‘How do I get there?’ ‘Can I get there?’ ‘Can I get through?'” Gatlin said. “I know they’ll be relieved to know that they can get back on the interstate.”
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