Interstate sound wall burned from fire caused by homeless encampment

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Interstate sound wall burned from fire caused by homeless encampment
BATON ROUGE – The State Department of Transportation is working on a plan to fix a portion of a sound barrier on the interstate that was partially burned in a fire.
The fire happened on April 9 around 8:30 p.m. on a section of the sound wall along I-12 westbound between Drusilla Lane and Essen Lane. According to the St. George Fire Department, a homeless encampment is to blame for the blaze.
“It was pretty obvious that somebody had been cooking outside near the fence. It was too close to the fence. There was some plywood on the fence as well that ignited pretty quickly,” Meg Kling, a spokesperson for the SGFD, said.
A path through the woods to that encampment could be seen behind Sunrise Senior Living on Jefferson Highway. The land occupied by the vagrants is not owned by the senior living facility, nor is it state right-of-way.
“This is a well-known area for homeless encampments,” Kling said.
A spokesperson for DOTD said the only part of that area belonging to the state is the sound wall itself. The 19-foot, $2.2 million structure was built in 2016 after two decades of planning.
Right now, the state is hoping to fix the sound wall without bidding out the project, but it hasn’t been ruled out entirely. The damage is still being assessed and calculated.

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