Stronger storms may require further hardening of infrastructure


Storms are becoming more severe, meaning Louisiana may need to harden road shoulders and embankments more than it has in response to prior hurricanes, a state Department of Transportation and Development spokesperson says. 

“Clearly the biggest lesson [from Hurricane Ida] for me is the need to prepare to accelerate everything we do pre-storm impact, which is not an easy or simple task,” DOTD’s Rodney Mallet says. “From a long-term perspective we have to address climate change and find ways to meaningfully invest in infrastructure.”

Officials are in the process of assessing Hurricane Ida’s damage to the state’s roads and bridges. Numerous moveable bridges sustained significant damage, the department says. 

Mallet expects the federal government will pay 70% to 90% of the cost of repairs. However, Mallet says the damage is not disrupting commerce. 

DOTD will be picking up debris for months. With so many workers out clearing debris and repairing signs and signals, safety is the No. 1 concern, he says. 

DOTD is urging motorists to drive with caution, be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment, and refrain from driving around “road closed” barricades, as crews are close to the road and oncoming traffic.