I am completely astonished by the lack of safety precautions put in place by the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge police. The recent deadly accident left me saddened and angry, as I truly believe it could have been prevented.
As a veteran Causeway commuter, I am familiar with the Causeway police and their safety practices. Overall, they are extremely fast in responding to emergencies and do an excellent job keeping commuters safe.
Yesterday, however, was a different story. I was traveling southbound on the bridge around 3:30 p.m. and noticed the digital traffic signs read, “Keep left, police in right lane 35 MPH.” I followed the directions and switched lanes; however, I could not see any police or traffic obstructions. My fellow commuters were less than willing to follow these directions and promptly went around me. I can’t blame them, the digital signs often have outdated information on them or drivers just don’t see them. Several miles later, after going over a hump, I was able to see that there was, in fact, road work. Other drivers did not take notice until they were feet from an attenuator (equipped with a driver).
Drivers slammed on their breaks and cut each other off to switch into the left lane. I could see the driver in the first attenuator and his worried face as he looked in his review mirror, probably thinking, please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me. After passing two attenuators, a police car and another work truck, I noticed a man who was literally hanging out of the side of a vehicle, gluing reflectors onto the middle of the road. Had I driven a SUV, I may not have seen him, as he was so low to the ground, one slight shift and he would be dead.
Did we not learn anything from the accident last week? What I experienced was a very similar situation to the dump truck accident. These incidents are completely preventable. Road work is not worth a life.
Road work can be accomplished safely and lives potentially spared. Had the Causeway police coned off the entire right lane, from the tollway to the end of the work, the accident could have been prevented (just as they do when there is a fog advisory).