I-10 closure brings extra traffic to East Texas

I-10 closure brings extra traffic to East Texas
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - All day in East Texas traffic was backed up thanks to a rising Sabine River in Orange.

The river was so high, it prompted officials in Louisiana and Texas to shut down Interstate 10.

TxDOT spokesperson Rhonda Oaks said all the districts throughout the state have been busy in conference calls on the matter.

"This is a statewide issue and affects heavy traffic across the entire state," Oaks said. "It also is an hour by hour situation we are monitoring. It could change any time. We could close it quickly."

The Nacogdoches construction zone has been causing a back-up for local drivers, but today the line was extra long.

Backups lasted all day. Greg Sowell with Nacogdoches police says normally the city experiences backups only from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., but based on anticipation of more congestion, TxDOT and city officials adjusted the timing on the left turn signal to help alleviate the backup. The city is asking for anyone that does not need to be in the area to please avoid it.

Businesses love it.

"Look outside there are trucks everywhere and we are just hoping they will turn in here," said Michelle Hale of South Food Mart. "We are getting more inside sales than we are outside."

And it is not just Nacogdoches. Reports all day that traffic was backed up in Diboll and Corrigan. According to Corrigan Police Chief Darrel Gibson, police are manually running the traffic light at U.S. 59 and U.S. 287.

Eddie Dosal was in the back-up that saw drivers wait long periods to go only a short distance.

"The stop lights yes," Dosal said. "It is affecting our time to get there but I will be okay."

William Wehling is heading to Houston and understands how bad it is down there. He left Beaumont last week when the rain hit.

"There are plenty of tributaries up north lead that way," Wehling said. "There are plenty of rivers that are backed up."

And he is thankful he is not with his fellow truckers.

The city of Jasper was a sort of gateway for the detoured motorists.

Motorists hoping to make it to Louisiana from Beaumont were treated to an unexpected detour through Deep East Texas Tuesday.

"The traffic! This is the biggest detour I've ever taken," said one driver who was with wife and driving to Florida.

They said at that point they had already lost about 3 hours of their journey.

"I'm coming out of Beaumont going to Houston," said another motorist in Jasper. "It's been pretty much wide-open except where they have the state-line closed down due to the flooding."

Frustration and confusion were the main emotions from drivers who say they just want to make it to their destinations.

"Terrible!" said truck driver Robert Cochran.

Those drivers instead are being diverted onto US 96 North into Jasper County and from there to US 69 North in Zavalla to US 59 North in Lufkin and then onto I-20 into Shreveport. A lengthy journey -- one the drivers wouldn't take before passing right by Dub and Flo's Barber Shop.

"Well it's kind of hurt business," Flo Stoaesbary said.

The 17-year fixture in Jasper sits right off US 96 – a prime spot.

"All the traffic and people are unable to get into the parking lot," she said.

And with all the commotion right outside their window, the topic of barbershop conversation will likely continue at least until flood waters recede.

"Well, all of them are like 18-wheelers so they're not going to stop and get a haircut," Flo said.

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