A couple of Interstate Highways and fifty or so years ago, US 190 through Eunice, Louisiana, was an important thru-route from Baton Rouge to Texas. I remember coming through here as a kid (cerca 1962) when the highway was only two lanes.
Of course, Interstate 10 changed the travelscape enormously so that 190 has become a regional highway rather than a major cross-country route.
Two traffic signal cycles to grind through an intersection in downtown Eunice? Unheard of until traffic “daze” such as these.
Except, of course, when I-10 has to be shut down for an emergency such as the great Flood of 2016. The swollen Mermentau River Basin began flooding the Interstate south of here a couple of days ago, so all that voluminous traffic is being diverted to a 50+ mile stretch of 190 from Kinder to Opelousas. We’re right in the middle of the detour here in Eunice.
The result? Rumbling, long-haul eighteen-wheelers stacked up and backed up at every traffic light across the four or five mile stretch of the city limits. The only other time I recall such traffic in Eunice was during the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, which shut down segments of I-10 in similar fashion.
I suppose there’s a benefit, since many of those travelers spend money here for gasoline and food. Meanwhile, we locals know to stay off the main drag. If we have to cross to the other side of town, there are traffic lights from one end of town to the other, and we can get to just about anywhere using the back streets. Our hearts to go out to those frustrated travelers, though. Many of them are probably fussin’ and cussin’ the name of our city as they grind their way through the intersections. I hope some of them will come back one day when traffic is normal to gain a better impression of our hospitable country-Cajun small town.
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