Cameras will soon track speeds on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
Whether you're driving towards Lafayette, or New Orleans, if you take I-10, 18 miles of that trip will be across the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.
How long it takes to get across depends on your speed.
"If you go 60 miles an hour, it's going to take you 18 minutes to cross that bridge. If you go 75 miles per hour, you're causing all sorts of safety issues with speed differential and you're going to get across maybe two minutes faster?" Rodney Mallet with DOTD said.
Sometime soon, someone will be watching. In June, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 435 into law. The law requires DOTD to install cameras tracking drivers' speeds. Anyone who gets across in under 18 minutes will get a ticket and fines can be as high as $1,000.00.
State police say safety is the reason.
"If you got one person 10-15 faster than everyone else, obviously they are going to engage in a lot more cars because they are passing cars constantly, which increases the likelihood of an issue coming up" Trooper Thomas Gossen said.
According to the DOTD, there were more than 260 crashes on that 18-mile stretch through Iberville and St. Martin Parishes last year. Two were fatal.
Many of the crashes were caused by people speeding, and narrow shoulders along the bridge make it difficult for law enforcement to track speeders or respond to emergencies.
"It is not uncommon for emergency personnel to get hit. I'm not just talking about just police officers," Gossen said.
While the law takes effect in August, it'll be some time before the cameras are rolling and tickets are being written.
"We have a series of things we have to do, and we are required to do, before we can implement the cameras," Mallet said.
And where will the money go?
"DOTD will recoup its cost for maintaining and implementing the cameras and having the staff to do the work. The rest of the money will go towards the two parishes and they will take care of that money as they do with all of their traffic fines," Mallet said.
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