POSTED: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 4:08pm
BOSSIER CITY, LA — Continuing its efforts to improve safety on Louisiana’s roadway, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD announced plans today for the latest installation of cable barriers at a press conference held at the Louisiana State Police Troop G headquarters in Bossier City, La.
DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas outlined an estimated $4.5-$5 million project to install cable barriers on I-20 throughout Bossier and Webster parishes, a distance of approximately 28 miles.
“Cable barriers save lives,” said Secretary LeBas. “The safety of Louisiana citizens is our highest priority, and our goal at DOTD is to continually look to improve and enhance our roadways to make them safer for the traveling public.”
Cable barriers are designed to prevent head-on collisions by deflecting vehicles that veer into the median from crossing over into oncoming traffic. Cable barriers act as a net to catch vehicles and redirect them into the median, not pushing the vehicle back into traffic.
DOTD estimates that bids for the I-20 cable barrier project in Bossier and Webster parishes will be taken in the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year.
In addition to this project, Secretary LeBas discussed her statewide goal to install cable barriers over the next five years. Included in this five-year plan is to have cable barriers cover I-20 from Caddo to Ouachita parishes. To accomplish this goal, DOTD will use a combination of federal and state funding, with the majority being federal funding.
In the past several years, motor-vehicle fatalities in Louisiana have dropped to an all time low with a 32 percent reduction in highway fatalities since 2007. DOTD has spearheaded multiple initiatives such as the installation of over 2,100 miles of center line rumble strips and roundabouts as well as working with federal safety and state and local law enforcement partners on public awareness campaigns to discourage texting while driving and encourage motorists to buckle up.
The need for a cable barrier system arose from the 2006 legislative session when a resolution was passed to look into the feasibility of installing these safety features. Since then, DOTD has installed approximately 81 miles of cable barriers throughout the state at an investment of approximately $11.8 million.
The cable barrier system is a testament to DOTD’s commitment to safety. Since they have been installed in Louisiana, there have been no incidents of vehicles breaking through the barriers and crossing the median.
“I appreciate DOTD’s commitment to pursuing projects that will enhance safety along our interstate system,” said Senator Robert Adley, senate chairman of the Transportation, Highway and Public Works Committee. “Installing cable barriers on I-20 is great news for North Louisiana.”
“We applaud DOTD’s dedication to keeping Louisiana’s roads safe for motorists,” said Wes Bolinger of the Federal Highway Administration. “Based on the performance of cable barriers installed to date, the addition of the cable barriers on I-20 will continue to effectively decrease cross-median fatalities in our state.”
"Law enforcement officers all too often witness the devastating results of interstate crossover crashes," Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police. "Since the installation of cable barriers in other parts of the state, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of such crashes and, in turn, a reduction in the number of fatal and serious injuries which could have resulted had not they been prevented by the use of cable barriers."
"We are pleased to continue to partner with DOTD to make Louisiana roads safer by implementing proactive safety measures across the state. Cable median barriers provide an additional safety measure that is efficient and effective," said Lt. Col. LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.