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Officials to end split speed limits on Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin Bridge

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Starting on Monday, Louisiana transportation officials will begin work to install new speed limit signs and radar speed detection devices along Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as part of an effort to reduce crashes.

Louisiana DOTD To End Split Speed Limits On I-10 Bridge

Starting March 18, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) will intermittently close lanes along eastbound and westbound I-10 on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge in Iberville and St. Martin parishes for construction.

Workers will install new speed limit signs and radar speed detection devices along the bridge. The radar speed devices will include “your speed” feedback signs to tell drivers to slow down.

Once the signs are installed, the speed on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge will be 60 m.p.h. for all vehicles. The current speed limit is 55 m.p.h. for trucks and 60 m.p.h. for cars. Trucks must still remain in the right lane of the bridge after the speed limit change goes into effect.

Officials expect this project to be completed by June 2024. The cost of the project is estimated at $591,040.

Bridge Designated As “Highway Safety Corridor”

These changes are coming to the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge are mandated by Act 426, which established the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as a Highway Safety Corridor. A later phase of Act 426 calls for speed cameras and automated citations.

Because the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is a designated Highway Safety Corridor, citations issued along this corridor will result in doubled fines. 

“Improvements along this Highway Safety Corridor will focus on reducing the number of fatal and injury crashes, which often keeps the basin bridge closed to traffic for hours at a time. The intention of the current phase 2 of the project is to have all vehicles moving at a consistent speed in order to improve reaction time and stopping distance. The end goal is reducing crashes and other incidents, especially since the bridge has narrow shoulders with little room to recover for those traveling at excess speeds,” DOTD said.

Trucking groups like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have said for many years that split speed limits decrease highway safety , pointing out that they increase interactions between vehicles and therefore increase the likelihood of crashes.

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