A new law in Louisiana addresses concerns about travel along the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.
Motorists are allowed to travel up to 60 mph along the Interstate 10 freeway in southern Louisiana. Truckers are allowed to travel up to 55 mph along the span connecting Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Additionally, trucks are restricted to using the left lane only for passing.
State law allows fines of up to $175 for speeding and lane use violations. Repeat offenders face fines of up to $500.
Governor John Bel Edwards has signed into law a bill to designate the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as a “Highway Safety Corridor”.
The Road Safety Corridor Distinction allows double fines for speeding. Offenders would first receive warnings before receiving a $350 citation for a third offense. Subsequent violations would result in fines of $1,000.
Revenue from fines above the cost of operation would be shared between the parishes of Iberville and Saint-Martin. The 18 mile range is located in both parishes.
Previously SB435, the new law includes a provision allowing the use of surveillance cameras to track vehicle journey times. It comes into effect on August 1.
Senate President Page Cortez R-Lafayette said changes were needed to address safety concerns along the span. He said a year ago there were 269 crashes with 89 injured and two dead.
When the new rule comes into effect later this summer, cameras can be used to monitor speeders along the bridge.
Cortez said the transportation department will need to place cameras along the span to time how long it takes a vehicle to get to certain points along the bridge.
Cameras will be posted at the two entrances to the bridge, at the two exits along the corridor and at the end of the bridge in each direction.
Vehicles that reach the points along the bridge at travel speeds faster than intended for the vehicle and the posted speed would be subject to an infraction notice.
During an earlier discussion of the bill, Cortez said something needed to be done to help law enforcement counter the use of mobile apps that alert drivers to the location of law enforcement vehicles. of the order.
“Everybody knows where the police are, so they go as fast as they want until they’re a few hundred yards from the police and they slow down,” Cortez told a committee. Bedroom. “When they pass them, they go away again… It’s pretty much a game of cat and mouse.”
Cortez adds that the additional enforcement option is necessary due to limited shoulder room, which makes it a safety hazard for state troopers enforcing traffic rules on the bridge.
Critics have said the automated app conflicts with Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution. They cited a driver’s inability to confront their accuser when it comes to a camera.
Additional signs on the Atchafalaya Bridge
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is also responsible for placing additional signs along the roadway to alert travelers of speed limits and truck lane restrictions.
There will be eight sets of speed limit signs placed on the east side of the bridge. Eight sets of panels will also be placed on the west side.
In addition, six sets of “truck right lane” signs will be evenly spaced on the east side of the bridge. The same number of signs will be posted along the westbound section.
One concern expressed about travel along the bridge was the enforcement of the truck lane rule.
Shawn Wilson, director of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said the problem of truck travel is best addressed by placing signs to alert trucks to the left lane restriction.
“I think the best way to solve this … is by law we put up six signs saying trucks are restricted to the right lane, and so I think that will help tremendously,” Wilson previously testified. “I think everyone is going to take this enforcement lane as one to be treated more seriously and driven responsibly, so I think it will be for trucks that are in the left lane.” LL