Carnival parades prompt prep work

The first of the area carnival season parades begins this weekend, and with the beads and revelry come another feature of the parade season — barricades and congestion along Johnston Street.

About 5,500 barricades will be placed along the 3.3 miles of the parade route and adjacent areas to help control crowds and keep the festivities safe for revelers, city officials said in a news release.

Barricade placement begins at 8 a.m. Thursday in the downtown area and along the route up to the intersection of Vermilion and Johnston streets.

At 8 a.m. Friday, barricade placement will begin down Johnston Street from the downtown area to North College Road and down North College to Reinhardt Drive. The barricades will close one lane of travel in each direction, but leave “turn lanes” at major intersections along Johnston and North College.

Motorists should prepare for delays starting Friday and continuing through Saturday, city officials stated. The barricades will be moved following the Saturday evening Krewe of Rio parade, which begins at 6:30 p.m. The barricades will be replaced along the route starting Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 and remain in place through Mardi Gras Day.

Traffic lanes will be closed along the route an hour before each parade, Lafayette Police Cpl. Paul Mouton stated in a news release.

Mouton advised motorists to avoid the route and detour around the area to prevent congestion.

Parades begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8; 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9; and 6 p.m. Feb. 11. Mardi Gras parades are scheduled at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Feb. 12.

Mouton also advised residents and businesses located along the route to make arrangements during the time of road closures to avoid any inconvenience. He said they may call the police department at (337) 291-8630 if they need assistance negotiating the route during street closures.