LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - As the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development finishes up work on the I-10 overpass at I-49, lane closures have traffic backed up - and likely will for the rest of the day.

It's been three months since the I-10 overpass was struck by a truck that was "carrying an excavator that was positioned higher" than it should have been, according to former Department of Transportation and Development chief Shawn Willson. That accident led to a major reconstruction project that has kept lanes at the overpass closed and DOTD on site working to repair the damage.

Shawn Wilson, DOTD
Shawn Wilson, DOTD

The first phase of the repair work involved the removal of the damaged section of the bridge. That work was completed in January. But the replacement work was left for Phase 2, which took place this weekend, according to DOTD.

As part of that phase, the overpass was reduced to one lane, which has led to significant backups over the last several days. Over the weekend, all northbound lanes of I-49 at the overpass were also closed.

All travel lanes of I-49 northbound will be closed at the I-10 overpass beginning Friday, March 17, at 9 p.m., until Monday, March 20, at 4 a.m. to install the newly constructed girders and bridge deck.
Crews will once again utilize SPMT’s to lift the new girders and bridge deck piece into place. After all pieces are securely in place, a concrete closure pour will be performed to tie-in all new components to the existing bridge overpass.

As of Sunday afternoon, though, the I-49 lanes were re-opened.

But that single lane at the overpass has traffic on I-10 eastbound at nearly a standstill for several miles. Just before 2 p.m. on Sunday, DOTD advised that congestion was at two miles as the work at the bridge continues.

That work is expected to go into Sunday night and finish up early on Monday morning. But the traffic is pretty heavy as travelers attempt to head east on the Interstate.

According to Waze, the traffic congestion (in red below) is definitely keeping things moving at a snail's pace.

Traffic congestion on I-10 eastbound has cars at a near-standstill on Sunday, March 19, 2023.
Credit: Waze

There are some available detours for travelers if you're planning to travel on I-10 eastbound during the day on Sunday.

  • I-49 Northbound – Take the I-10 EB exit for Baton Rouge (Exit 1A). Once on I-10 EB, take the exit for Louisiana Avenue (Exit 104). Take a left at the stop sign and go under the overpass. Take the ramp to get on I-10 WB. Once on I-10 WB you can take the exit for Opelousas (Exit 103B) to access I-49 NB.
  • I-10 Eastbound – If traveling on I-10 EB, take the exit for Morgan City (Exit 103A) and merge onto the Evangeline Thruway. Take a left at the Willow Street intersection to gain access to the NB Evangeline Thruway. Take the I-10 EB exit for Baton Rouge (Exit 1A).

If you're heading on I-10 eastbound and want to get to I-49 without being stuck in congestion, you can exit at Scott and make your way over to Willow Street, following it all the way down to I-49 or turning onto University and heading north until you can make your way to I-49 there (earliest opportunity being Pont Des Mouton). But if you can avoid I-10 eastbound entirely, that might be your best bet until Monday.

The History Behind Lafayette's Street Names

We drive them on a daily basis. Some are smoother than others. Some we use more frequently than others. Some randomly start, end, and/or change names. They're the streets of Lafayette. The names behind many of these streets have interesting histories. We take a look at where those names come from and the impact their namesakes have had on the city and the parish.

Seven Forgotten Facts About Lafayette

The area now known as downtown Lafayette was first settled 200 years ago. While the street grid of that original settlement is the same as it was then, the rest of the city has grown and changed exponentially. Let's take a look at some of those changes by taking a look at some of the forgotten facts in Lafayette history.

More From News Talk 96.5 KPEL