BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and Louisiana State Police have now shut I-20 down in both directions from exit 23 (the Industrial Drive exit) to exit 33 (the Haughton exit) due to “multiple” stalled and stuck 18-wheelers as a result of ice on the roadway that is re-freezing.
“While significant melting occurred today, along with DOTD’s continued efforts to treat and clear roadways, temperatures quickly dropped back below freezing and residual moisture is re-freezing. Motorists are again asked to avoid travel on I-20, as well as any unnecessary travel in general,” according to an advisory issued by LA DOTD.
According to LSP, traffic will be diverted to US 80. The DOTD says the Louisiana National Guard has joined DOTD crews and troopers on scene working to get the trucks cleared and traffic moving again.
“These are unprecedented times, and we need the communities’ assistance and cooperation,” said the statement from LSP announcing the closure. “Although roadways improved during the day, some roadways may become impassable as the area will see below freezing temperatures tonight. We urge motorists to please avoid all unnecessary travel.”
I-20 has not been shut down completely during the weeklong winter weather event, but there have been numerous temporary closures and backups along the route as ramps iced up too much to navigate and vehicles spun out and stalled, sometimes left disabled in the lane of traffic.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a briefing Thursday that the Louisiana National Guard was bringing in wreckers and is working with the Louisiana Department of Transportation to remove a number of 18-wheelers that either stalled or jackknifed in this way along I-20 near the Texas line.
The situation prompted a warning from TX DOT for drivers heading east into Louisiana to avoid the interstate and look for alternate routes.
As of early Friday afternoon, the DOTD said traffic in that area of I-20E was down to one lane and slow going.
Drivers who become stranded can dial *LSP (*577) from a cell phone to contact the nearest LSP Troop to request help. For road closure information, LSP says motorists can utilize the 511 phone system, 511la.org, or the Louisiana 511 smartphone app.