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DOTD on Atchafalaya Bridge speed control projects

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Posted at 10:11 AM, Aug 03, 2022

The state Department of Transportation and Development has issued some information about speed control efforts on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.

Some new signs are going up this week, but the cameras that everyone is talking about aren't up yet, and there's no timeline yet for their installation, the release states.

Here's the full release:

Beginning Aug. 5, motorists will notice additional signs placed along the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. These signs are part of a three-phase process, in response to Senate Bill 435 / ACT 426 that established the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as a highway safety corridor.

The establishment of this highway safety corridor, which goes into effect Aug. 1, calls for DOTD to install additional signage on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, to install camera safety devices to monitor vehicles traveling in excess of the posted speed limit, and to issue warnings and citations.

Local police will not be precluded from enforcing traffic laws on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, and any citations issued by a police officer will take precedence over any camera violations. Motor vehicle violations will be twice the standard fine imposed. Higher fines take effect on Aug. 1.

The first phase consists of installing additional signage throughout this corridor. Crews will be installing “Higher Fines” signs near the bridge approaches on I-10 at both ends, as well as on the on-ramps at the Whiskey Bay and Butte LaRose exits. There will also be “Safety Corridor” signs placed before the bridge approaches to warn motorists of the changes.

Phase two consists of placing automated radar feedback signs that display motorists’ speed throughout this 18-mile stretch. These signs are to warn motorists to slow down when traveling too fast. The “Radar Feedback” signs are currently under design and DOTD anticipates letting this project out for bid by the end of the year.

The third phase will be the placement of cameras that will monitor the speed of motorists. The camera system is still under design, as well as the placement and process of how the department will monitor and enforce these fines.

In 2021, motor vehicle crashes increased statewide, with a total of 971 fatalities, an increase of 17 percent from 2020. This highway safety corridor will focus on reducing the number of fatal crashes, which often keeps the basin bridge closed to traffic for hours at a time. The safety cameras will reduce speeding and therefore reduce the speeding differential, which can lead to serious crashes, especially since the bridge has narrow shoulders with little room to recover for those traveling at excess speeds.

All construction activity is weather dependent and may be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather. DOTD appreciates the motoring public’s patience and reminds drivers to please exercise caution when traveling through work zone areas and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.