A swath of Hurricane Katrina-wrought destruction on bridges and highways has cut off much access to Southern Louisiana from the east. Two major east-west connectors, Interstate 10 and U. S. 90, are badly damaged in Mississippi.
Bridged sections of I-10 are unfit for passage because of missing and shifted spans near Slidell, La., says Dan Miller, structural engineer with the Mississippi Dept. of Transportation. The road portion between Alabama and Louisiana was reopened on Sept. 1. Other segments remain closed indefinitely near New Orleans because the some 40% of the twin span bridge section over Lake Pontchartrain is damaged or gone.
"U. S. 90 is basically gone through Gulfport and Biloxi," says Miller. One bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs has been virtually eliminated. "The bascules in the middle is still there, but all of the approach spans are gone," says Miller. A bascule bridge in the Bay St. Louis area is equally impassable with its approach spans gone. The state has declared the road "indefinitely closed" from Louisiana to Alabama.
A barge-based casino uprooted by the storm is now sitting on U. S. 90 in another area. "Its sitting on top of a Holiday Inn that it crushed," Miller says.
All other roads and interstates have been reopened to the public, except for State Highway 604. The state warns travelers that there will continue to be issues with debris.