SUPER FOG: 1 dead, 8 injured in multiple crashes on I-10 near Michoud, officials say
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Interstate 10 near Michoud Boulevard and Irish Bayou was closed in both directions for several hours Tuesday (Nov. 7) morning due to multiple crashes as fog and smoke from nearby marsh fires have combined, creating “superfog” conditions that limit visibility on the road.
The New Orleans Police Department says one man died in the crash and eight others were injured.
Around 11 a.m., all eastbound lanes of I-10 were reopened.
Just after 1 p.m., the left and middle lanes of I-10 West were reopened at Irish Bayou. The right lane remained closed as crews worked to clear an overturned 18-wheeler which lost a load of sand and dirt across the roadway.
Police say reports of the crash were first received around 4:37 a.m. Multiple crashes were reported in the eastbound lanes and one in the westbound lanes.
The wrecks involved 11 vehicles and an overturned 18-wheeler.
Following the I-10 closure, many drivers used the Causeway Bridge as an alternate route. Some sat in traffic for over an hour, questioning toll collections. The Causeway Commission indicated that toll booths helped regulate traffic, given that Causeway traffic exceeded two to three times the normal amount.
Tolls were suspended for an hour when visibility improved and traffic eased. Causeway police convoyed vehicles to ensure safe speeds and urged drivers to increase travel time and stay weather-aware due to the potential for fog in the mornings.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) says it is working closely with police to determine whether a road should be closed if conditions become hazardous. The DOTD says it activated warning signs about potentially hazardous conditions, but no decision was made to close I-10 in New Orleans East.
This is the second major series of crashes involving smoke from a 200-acre swamp fire in New Orleans East. On Mon., Oct. 23, a massive 168-car pile-up claimed the lives of seven people on I-55 in Manchac.
West of Lake Pontchartrain, heavy fog also impacted the route on I-55 at Manchac in the same area.
City officials warn drivers to use extreme caution over the next couple of days as superfog formation remains a threat. They plan to meet Tuesday afternoon to determine whether more stringent traffic measures will be taken in the days ahead. Convoys, similar to the ones utilized on the Causeway in hazardous conditions, are a possibility.
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