NewsLafayette Parish


Sugarcane farmers warn of heavy machinery on roadway

Authorities warn drivers to use precaution during Sugarcane harvesting season
Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-25 15:17:09-04

It’s sugar cane harvesting season and you may see moving equipment on the roadways hauling sugar cane.

KATC has pulled together what you need to know when driving on the roadway this harvesting season.

Eddie Lewis III is a fifth-generation sugarcane farmer, with Eddie Lewis Cane farms dating back to 1954.

“We're asking the public to look out for. And be careful try to stay about 100 to hundred and 50 feet behind the heavy and moving machinery," Lewis said.

An industry Lewis says brings nearly a billion dollars a year.

“Sugarcane has a big impact in Louisiana you’re talking almost a billion dollars so there’s a couple of thousand 18-wheelers. That’s trying to provide food for your families. And we’re asking to get them from the mill safely," Lewis said.

Lewis says the safety of all drivers on the roadway is their priority.

“In the morning time people are rushing to get to work. For lunchtime, people are rushing to get to lunch. So those are the heavy traffic times. And in those times that’s when you tend to have a little more responsibility. And just kind of watch out for the traffic and the slow-moving vehicles out there," Lewis said.

Signs also line the roadway warning drivers of sugarcane harvesting.

Lewis says weather conditions also play a role in slippery roadway conditions.

“Weather conditions can start and can come in and what happens is there mud on the roads and the vehicles move a little bit slower. So that’s what we run into so we’re asking the public as we get into the rainier months.

Sugar cane harvesting will last until the end of January.

Most 18-wheelers are set to go only 55 miles an hour. tractors at 15 to 20 miles an hour. Public information officer of Troop I, Trooper Thomas Gossen says it's OK to pass the machinery with caution.

Pt. 2 Sugarcane farmers warn of heavy machinery on roadway

"Whenever these guys are coming down the roadway, you're more than welcome to pass them but just keep in mind 100 feet of an intersection is a no-passing zone. Whether it's marked or not and that's what people don't understand. If it's a publicly owned roadway that's publicly maintained. That's a definition of an intersection. Even if it's within a dotted line. It's a no-passing zone. Within 100 feet of an intersection,"

“The sugarcane was here before the community moved in so they have a lot of new residents in town so they may not be used to the heavy equipment the tractors and the slow-moving activity during harvest season so what we're asking the public to do is please slow down," Lewis said.

Sugar cane harvesting will last until the end of January.

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