NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Drivers nailed by an interstate spill Tuesday and Wednesday question why the road was not shut down and state transportation officials allowed them to roll over hammering nails unknowingly.
"Had it been known that 20 thousand nails were on the ground I wouldn't have even gotten on the highway at that point," driver Bryce Ell said. "I think traffic should have been diverted from the get-go."
Ell needed two new back tires after having a total of 27 nails in them.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation's 30 employees spent nearly four hours removing as many nails as possible from the interstate Wednesday afternoon, but morning commuters drove though that area, possibly driving over the nails as well.
The LA DOTD said the spill began just past the Bonnabel exit on I-10 Eastbound and ended at the St. Bernard Avenue exit on I-610, a nearly four-mile stretch of road.
LA DOTD spokesperson Bambi Hall said drivers were allowed to travel over the lanes still littered with nails because the agency did not know nails were there.
"No one yet knew the extent of the spill. We responded according to state police's request to what was known to them, at the time," Hall said. "State police provided incidence response and traffic control to allow us to address what was then the known affected area. It's no different than when they respond to a traffic incident with a known set of circumstances. The goal is to remove the known impact and keep traffic flowing or get it flowing as soon as possible. [A state police] investigation follows to determine any other factors. We responded to what we knew then, and followed up this morning with an extended response once other facts became known regarding the incident."
Both the LA DOTD and Louisiana State Police can make the decision whether the interstate should be shut down.
A spokesperson with Louisiana State Police said when there is something on the interstate that needs to be cleaned, the LA DOTD provides the manpower, vehicles and types of equipment needed to clean the area and troopers provide the safety for the LA DOTD workers and motorists.
There have been no reports of any crashes being caused by the nail spill.
"I'd advise pretty much anybody who traveled on the interstate here or where ever to go get them inspected because you can get a nail that doesn't leak immediately," mechanic Kirby Danna said.
The owner of the truck company state police said the driver was working for asks anyone with damage to their tires to call American Insurance Brokers to file a claim.
For more information on American Insurance Brokers, click here.