HENDERSON, La. — Interstate 10 Eastbound is back open after an 18-wheeler crash yesterday near Henderson shut down the eastbound side for more than nine hours. Many drivers were stuck on the interstate the entire time and have questions about why it took so long to divert eastbound traffic approaching the backup-- and to get stranded drivers out.
The mess started at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. Henderson Police worked the initial crash, which was only blocking one lane. At least 30 gallons of oil spilled onto the road as a result of the crash. A short time later it started to rain, causing the oil to spread to both lanes, shutting the eastbound side completely.
"I saw some of the social media posts that they were there for six hours, and I was there for most of the event so it was at least that," says Henderson Police Captain James Thibodeaux. By 5:00 p.m., traffic was backed up more than five miles, stretching past the Breaux Bridge exit. The delays kept coming -- because eastbound lanes farther behind the crash site remained open. It wasn't until 9:00 p.m. that I-10 East was shut down at I-49.
"We can't close the road in someone else's jurisdiction, that has to be done by the state," explained Thibodeaux.
A spokesperson for State Police blames a lack of communication and says they weren't notified of the crash until hours after it happened. One thing motorists can do to avoid these types of situations is to check out 511la.org before getting on the road. There, you'll find real time traffic cameras and updates to any traffic incidents that might be occurring. You can also follow DOTD's Twitter page for Lafayette traffic at @Laf_Traffic.