I-55 construction may hamper commuters

Commuters may be in for some delays during the upcoming fall semester.  The Department of Transportation and Development  (DOTD) has been overlaying Interstate 55, part of the process to update a section of the interstate.  While every precaution to limit the inconvenience to commuters has been taken, students may still be affected.

Students who do not attend class during normal hours or that are commuting from the northern parts of Tangipahoa parish and use Interstate 55 as a major throughway may see more delays than those traveling north from Interstate 12.

The entire project spans from the junction of US 51 and Interstate 55 to the Independence exit.  DOTD has been working diligently to ensure that the span of road, supporting the majority of the commuters to Southeastern, from Interstate 12 to the Wardline/University Ave. exit is ready to go on Aug. 17, when students return to campus. According to DOTD, there may still be lane closures during the first few weeks of school, but they will not be during heavy traffic hours on this stretch of highway, as specified by contract.

“They will be setting up lane closures right around 8:00 p.m. and opening around 6:00 a.m.,” said Chad Harper, engineering intern with DOTD.

Students coming from the northern parts of Tangipahoa parish may experience lane closures, however, as work on this part of the highway may take place during high traffic hours.  Lane closures will also cause the speed limit to be reduced to 60 mph.  

Students from these areas should consider this when preparing for the beginning of the school year. The asphalt work for the project is expected to be completed in 1-2 months and then finish work by November or December, weather permitting.

For more information, contact the DOTD by phone at 1-877-452-3683 or e-mail at [email protected] during 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.