(State Police) - — The annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, which will take place this weekend April 8th-10th, is expected to bring over 300,000 visitors to the downtown Ponchatoula area. This increased traffic volume quickly overloads the surrounding interstate system causing dangerous backups from heavily congested off ramps. In an effort to improve the flow of traffic and ensure that motorists have a safe festival weekend, Troop L urges motorists to follow the following route advisories when entering and leaving the Ponchatoula area.
From Baton Rouge: Exit Interstate 12 Eastbound at Pumpkin Center exit #35, proceed south to LA 22, then continue east on LA 22 into Ponchatoula.
From Covington / Slidell: Exit Interstate 12 Westbound at LA 445 exit #47, proceed south to LA 22, then continue west on LA 22 into Ponchatoula.
From Mandeville: Take LA 22 west into Ponchatoula avoiding Interstate 12.
From New Orleans area: Exit Interstate 55 Northbound at Manchac exit #15, proceed north on U.S. 51 into Ponchatoula.
Throughout the festival weekend, Louisiana State Police Troop L will be working in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies to get impaired drivers off of the roads and remind motorists that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Troopers will be focusing on motorists not wearing seat belts, unrestrained children in vehicles, and any aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding, following too close, and especially driving while intoxicated.
Following these steps, motorists can enjoy the festival without jeopardizing their life and the lives of the others who may be on the road:
Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
If you’re impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend, or a family member so you are sure to get home safely;
If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
To report aggressive drivers or unsafe roadway conditions, you may dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police office closest to you.