Atchafalaya accidents need sound solution

American Press

A multi-vehicle accident last week on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge on Interstate 10 that resulted in one death and five injuries has state transportation officials studying the possibility of lowering the speed limit there. Former Gov. Mike Foster lowered the basin bridge speed limit from 70 mph to 60 mph in 1998 because of a series of accidents. Large truck speed was reduced to 55 mph in 2003.

Shawn Wilson, secretary of the state Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), told The Advocate, “We want to make an informed decision. We are just not sure what that is yet. We are going to look at this particular incident because it is an extreme incident and understand what is the cause of the accident.”

State Sen. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, said, “We have to do better. Whatever we are doing is not working with regards to either to monitoring or speed limits or a combination of all of those things.”

The newspaper said DOTD reported the basin bridge has been the site of 1,183 accidents since 2014, including 13 fatalities. One of the fatalities was a pedestrian. Total accidents rose in 2018 by 12 percent over the previous year, and 30 percent since 2014, on the roughly 17-mile stretch through St. Martin and Iberville parishes.

A State Police preliminary investigation said after an initial crash, westbound traffic slowed for the incident, and then three 18-wheelers and several passenger vehicles were involved in a chain-reaction crash.

Cortez said, “Inevitably, it is 18-wheelers. We need to demand some type of action with 18-wheelers, reduced speed or something.”

Wilson said more time is needed because sometimes lower speed limits could also be the cause of additional accidents. About 55,000 cars and trucks use the bridge daily. Big trucks are already required to stay in the right lane while crossing the bridge.

State Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, and chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was superintendent of State Police when the 1998 accidents occurred and the speed limit was reduced. He said a lower speed had a significant impact on the number of crashes.

Traffic on the basin bridge has gotten heavier over the years. Some motorists familiar with the route have complained that speed limits are not enforced enough, and that results in hazardous driving and dangerous passing habits. Road construction on both sides of the bridge has also increased the number of accidents.

Wilson is probably correct when he says nothing should be done quickly, but we hope everyone involved in making a decision doesn’t take too much time to do something.””

Atchafalaya basin bridge

commons.wikimedia.org

Local News

15 child deaths attributed to COVID in La.

Local News

School Board extends COVID-related sick leave policy

Local News

Kind Vibes Only: CPSO hosts one-mile anti-bullying walk

Local News

Sowela rolls out fifth annual Flying Tigers Car Show

Local News

Parents urge Jeff Davis School Board to oppose any vaccine mandate

Local News

City hiring two agencies to help with disaster recovery financial advocacy

Crime

Man arrested in Monday shooting near McNeese campus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:State’s election system secure

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local Business News

Few things please Chloun more than delighting diners with authentic Middle Eastern cuisine

Local News

Nicholas expected to weaken to a depression overnight

Local News

Nicholas weakening as it moves toward SW La.

Local News

Update: Today’s weather-related closures and cancellations

Local News

Nicholas expected to stall over SW La. Wednesday

Local News

Nicholas upgraded to category 1 hurricane

Local News

Weather-related Tuesday closures, cancellations

Crime

Nine arrested in what authorities describe as ‘gang shooting’