Law enforcement to aid traffic flow for Strawberry Festival

Published 8:40 am Friday, April 10, 2015

The 44th annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Louisiana State Police will assist the Ponchatoula Police Department by coordinating traffic management for traffic into Ponchatoula from Interstate 55 at exit 23 and exit 25. Emphasis will be placed on facilitating traffic off I-55 in the safest possible manner and avoiding traffic congestion on the interstate.

Troopers will also assist in patrolling the Ponchatoula area to provide a heightened law enforcement presence and a safe environment for festival attendees.

The Ponchatoula Police Department has requested law enforcement assistance from the Louisiana State Police. The Strawberry Festival is expecting a major influx of visitors arriving in the Ponchatoula area.

This festival is the second largest in Louisiana with attendance estimated at approximately 300,000. I-55 is a major corridor for visitors traveling to and from Ponchatoula. The increased traffic volume from the festival in past years has caused traffic to become congested near the off-ramps and back up on to the interstate. This will require LSP personnel to intermittently close off ramps in the Ponchatoula area to reduce these issues from happening.

The State Police will coordinate efforts to manage traffic exiting I-55 by positioning troopers at exits 23 and 25, both northbound and southbound. Troopers will monitor traffic and close the off-ramps intermittently if congestion begins to build on to the interstate. The exit closures will be alternated so they will not be closed simultaneously.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation Development will place barricades, cones and a portable message sign board to alert traffic to the possibility of the closed exits and provide alternate route information.

Troopers will also monitor the flow of traffic on U.S. Highway 51 between I-55 and Louisiana Highway 22. The LSP Air Support Section will be utilized to provide speed enforcement on I-55 and Interstate 12.