NEW ORLEANS -- Traffic nightmares drivers have lived through with since last week's fire under the High Rise could be lessened after the NOPD enacts a new plan to keep vehicles moving at rush hour and during the busy Thanksgiving holiday, Superintendent Michael Harrison said Monday.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation and Development said work on temporary repairs is expected to wrap by the holiday and possibly as early as Tuesday afternoon, at which point the agency would reopen all eastbound lanes on the bridge.
Traffic on Interstate 10 east has backed up from the High Rise to the Central Business District in recent days after a tire fire under the bridge.
"That fire was so intense … that it actually caused damaged to the High Rise, weakening the structure," Harrison said.
That has led the DOTD to close two of the three lanes on the bridge, resulting in the gridlock that has frustrated drivers since.
Until the work finishes, officers from the NOPD and Louisiana State Police will be stationed at several intersections to try to move eastbound traffic away from the High Rise during morning and evening rush hours, Harrison said.
Traffic lights will be turned off at the following intersections where officers will direct drivers to try to help traffic flow faster over the Seabrook and Danziger bridges:
- Chef Menteur Highway at Downman Road
- Chef Menteur Highway at Desire Parkway
- Leon C. Simon Boulevard at Press Street
- Downman Road at Morrison Road
- Downman Road at Hayne Boulevard
The Seabrook and Danziger bridges have seen increased traffic since the High Rise lanes were shut down.
"We want to make sure we give people alternative routes," Harrison said. "We know it's going to be bad because the High Rise is reduced to one lane."
The DOTD said that all lanes will reopen as soon as the temporary fixes are in place.
"Let's just hope that the repairs can be finished by (Thanksgiving)," Harrison said. "But should they not be, we will do everything that we can to ensure the citizens have alternative methods of travel and they can have them safely."