DOTD Installing Speeding Signs on Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, But Cameras Not Likely Installed Until 2023
By this Friday, August 5, motorists traveling the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge will see signage warning them about speeding across the 18-mile bridge.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said the signs are part of a three-phase process in response to Senate Bill 435 Bill / ACT 426 that established the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as a highway safety corridor.
The establishment of this highway safety corridor went into effect on August 1 and it calls for the DOTD to:
- Install additional signage on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
- Install camera safety devices to monitor vehicles traveling in excess of the posted speed limit
- Issue warnings and citations
What is the timeline for the installation of these three phases?
The first phase consists of crews installing additional signage throughout the corridor. These "Higher Fines" signs will be seen near the bridge approaches on both ends of I-10, 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 of the plan consists of placing automated radar feedback signs that display motorists' speed throughout the 18-mile stretch of highway. These signs will warn motorists to slow down when traveling too fast. The "Radar Feedback" signs are still being designed and DOTD expects this project to go 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 also still under design, as well as the placement and process of how the department will monitor and enforce these fines.
(This is the part that says that anyone who makes it from one end of the bridge to the other in under 18 minutes, would face a fine, according to the law. And, of course, that fine will be double what it used to be, with the amount going up for multiple offenses.)
When can we expect to see cameras enforcing the speed limit on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge?
Given all the above, officials with the Department of Transportation candidly admit the cameras won't likely be installed and operational until sometime in 2023.
Keep in mind that while these cameras aren't installed yet, that doesn't mean State Troopers and local law enforcement can't still give you a speeding ticket using good ole fashioned radars.
What was the catalyst for this new "Highway Safety Corridor"?
DOTD says that in 2021, motor vehicle crashes increased statewide, with a total of 971 fatalities, an increase of 17 percent from 2020. The highway safety corridor will focus on reducing the number of fatal crashes, which often closes the basin bridge for hours at a time.
The safety cameras are designed to reduce speeding and consequentially reduce the speeding differential, which can lead to serious crashes, especially since the bridge has narrow shoulders which allows for little room for those speeding to recover.