IBERVILLE PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) — There will be new eyes on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge monitoring drivers later this year.
“We will have video cameras on the bridge that will help us determine the time frame from when you got on and off the bridge,” said Rodney Mallett, communications director of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
A law passed by Governor John Bel Edwards in the 2022 regular session will add cameras on the bridge to monitor speed. Mallett said this is all about safety. According to DOTD, there have been more than 20 fatalities in the last seven years on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.
“Last year, we had two fatalities and about 270 crashes,” said Mallett.
Mallett said the bridge is 18 miles long with a speed limit of 60 miles per hour. He said it should take drivers exactly 18 minutes to cross. Under the new law, drivers will be fined two times more than the current fine if they’re going too fast.
“The speed difference is what we’re trying to control here. And with the very limited shoulder that we have, the lower speed will come into play as well,” he said.
The law also requires DOTD to place “Trucks Right Lane Only” signs throughout the bridge’s length.
Some commuters took to social media to voice their thoughts on the new law. One driver said she followed the speed limit and was still under the 18-minute crossing limit. However, Mallet said the speed limit should help prevent crashes and potential closures.
“If you are driving your speed limit and you are controlling your speed along with everyone else, you’re going to have a much easier time,” he said.
The law goes into effect on Aug. 1. DOTD is now determining when and where cameras and signs will go up.
Money from the fines will cover the costs of the cameras, and any leftover money will go back to Iberville and St. Martin parishes.