If a hurricane threatens, use these routes and strategies from the Emergency Operations Center for a hassle-free evacuation
If a mandatory evacuation is ordered this hurricane season, Emergency Operation Center Director Tab Troxler has specific route recommendations for residents of St. Charles Parish. Troxler also suggested the best times to leave based on traffic reports kept on the Katrina evacuation.
“We do not recommend ever taking I-10, unless it is before the evacuation is called,” Troxler told the Herald-Guide. “We recommend that residents on the east bank take Airline Hwy or River Road through the Bonnet Carre Spillway.”
Troxler recommends that westbank residents east of I-310 take LA3127. Residents from Taft to I-310 bridge are advised to take River Road and everyone living west of I-310 is advised to take Hwy 90. Troxler said the reason they are telling residents west of I-310 to go west is to prevent a potential bottleneck of traffic trying to turn left at the Hwy 90/I-310 traffic light.
Troxler warns, “it may be necessary to call a mandatory evacuation for Westbank residents south of Hwy. 90 even if a category 1 or 2 hurricane approaches.” Westbank residents are more vulnerable than the east bank or New Orleans because of the lack of levee protection in the area.
When evacuating, timing is everything to prevent traffic headaches, Troxler says. The sooner the person leaves after an evacuation is called, the better.
“There’s a two-hour window right after an evacuation is called where there’s no traffic,” Troxler explains. When a mandatory evacuation was called for Katrina, nobody left for two hours and then traffic steadily rose until it peaked Saturday afternoon. Traffic slowed around 10 p.m. and then picked up again Sunday morning and rose throughout the day,” he said.
Tip – Make reservations BEFORE the evacuation is called and think outside the box. Try towns that are off the beaten track and small-town bed and breakfasts, which can be reached via back roads and don’t fill up nearly as fast. It took one resident 45 minutes via LA 3127 to get to a quaint Donaldsonville bed and breakfast he stayed at during Katrina.
Recommended evacuation routes.
Tab Troxler and the Emergency Operations Center recommend the following evacuation routes for St. Charles Parish. Officials pointed out that after contra flow is enacted, it’s not possible to get to I-10 from I-310. They recommend evacuating before contra flow is enacted if possible because there is much less traffic and much less confusion. “After contra flow, we don’t have an avenue through I-10 if they go by what they did last time. The only access is to go to Kenner. From Kenner they shut down all of eastbound I-10 and you can’t get on from I-310, ” said parish spokesman Steve Sirmon Jr.
I-310 South to LA 3127 West, then LA 1 North to Hwy 190 West; from Hwy 190 West, residents can take I-49 North (Alexandria/Shreveport)
Hwy 90 West to Lafayette, then I-10 West (Lake Charles /Houston, TX) or I-49 North (Alexandria/Shreveport)
The River Roads are also a viable evacuation route. LA 48 (Eastbank River Road) will connect you to Laplace, where you can take I-55 North (with contra flow if it is activated). LA 18 (Westbank River Road) will give access to Gramercy and eventually Donaldsonville, connect to LA 1 to Baton Rouge, then I-10 West to Lake Charles or Houston.
Airline Hwy, U.S. 61, West will give access to I-55 north or through Baton Rouge and eventually up to Natchez, Mississippi.
Louisiana State Police Hurricane and Evacuation information can be found at http://www.lsp.org/hurricane.html