BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announces its preparations for the 2021 hurricane season, which begins June 1.
“Emergency preparedness is not limited to hurricane season,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson. “With the increasing severity of the weather and the possibility of industrial-related emergencies, we have full-time staff dedicated to emergency response preparedness to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Our success during severe weather events is a result of the continued training and readiness of DOTD as a whole.”
Prior to the start of hurricane season, DOTD personnel participated in and conducted virtual state and department-wide hurricane readiness and response exercises, and meet to review and discuss evacuation and contraflow operations.
Additionally, DOTD conducted the Annual Mississippi/Louisiana Contraflow meeting on May 27, 2021 in Louisiana. Representatives from DOTD, Louisiana State Police, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Florida Highway Patrol met to discuss effective operation plans should contraflow be activated.
To maximize response efforts, DOTD has also decentralized many of its response activities to the district level, including vehicle staging areas for emergency evacuation efforts and debris management.
In addition to hurricane preparedness, DOTD has refined its emergency response plans to include response efforts for multiple hazardous threats and the incorporation of emergency operation response preparedness into normal day-to-day operations.
In an emergency situation, DOTD is responsible for assisting parish emergency operations personnel with transporting people who can’t transport themselves. DOTD is also responsible for public works and engineering functions on the state infrastructure system such as contraflow, debris management, damage assessment on state routes, and emergency repairs to the transportation infrastructure.
Since 2005, DOTD has developed a process to assist parishes with moving people without transportation from at-risk areas. DOTD also has established a fully equipped Emergency Operations Center, which includes a call center, an information center, a traffic and transportation team, and a public works and engineering team. The information center includes stations to monitor weather and all modes of transportation (marine traffic, rail, airports, and highways).
Additionally, DOTD managers remain in frequent contact with parish emergency operation directors throughout the impacted regions, assessing local needs and immediately responding with buses.
If the possibility of heavy rain, tropical storm force winds and flooding is forecasted, DOTD will monitor the roadways for possible flooding, to remove fallen trees from the roadway, and to close any roads as needed.
For more information on severe weather preparedness, please visit www.getagameplan.org.
Evacuation and Contraflow
DOTD and Louisiana State Police have contraflow plans ready for the New Orleans area. During contraflow operations, DOTD district personnel assemble needed materials, including barricades, cones, variable message board signs and any other signage required to implement a contraflow evacuation. Contraflow is initiated when there is a Category 3 or greater in the Gulf and New Orleans/Jefferson Parish is under mandatory evacuation.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.