St. Martin Parish, LA (KPEL News) - We've heard about the speed cameras planned for the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge that will supposedly clock driver's time and have Louisiana State Troopers and other law enforcement officials issuing tickets if anyone crossed in less than the prescribed time. The bridge, which traverses the largest swamp in the United States, is known for its hellacious backups when an accident happens or work on the structure is performed. Being informed about non-emergency events, like wrecks, is incredibly helpful so travelers can plan another route to avoid being stuck.

Make note of the next phase of the safety corridor project start date and times so you aren't stuck like Chuck in the lane closures during construction.

A Louisiana Senate Bill called Act 426 passed in the 2022 regular session established the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as a highway safety corridor and outlined the specific measures the Department of Transportation and Development would implement to reduce the number of crashes.

 The establishment of this Highway Safety Corridor calls for DOTD to install additional signage on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, to install camera safety devices to monitor vehicles traveling in excess of the posted speed limit, and to issue warnings and citations.

The first phase involved installation of additional signage. The second phase begins on March 18th and will focus on having vehicles moving at a consistent speed.

Workers will be installing those lighted signs we've become familiar with on south Louisiana highways and surface streets in our towns. The signs will clock speed and display "your speed" so you're aware of how fast you're traveling.

Once they complete the installation of those signs, everyone on the bridge will be allowed to travel 60 mph. Up until now, commercial trucks or 18-wheelers were limited to 55 mph, while private vehicles were allowed to drive 60 mph. Congestion happened frequently if you got stuck behind an 18-wheeler, unable to pass. Trucks will still be restricted to the right lane.

Work will happen on the Louisiana bridge each night between 9 PM and 5 AM, weather permitting, through the end of March.

Since the bill was passed in 2022 and word got out, Louisianans have been awaiting the arrival of the speed safety cameras that will clock the time it takes a car to cross the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. If you get from one side to the other in less than the time allotted, you'll be issued a citation.

Act 426 doesn't specifically state the time limits to cross the bridge but, if a driver is traveling 60 mph, it will take them about 18 minutes to cross. So, if you're going faster than that, you'll cross in less time, resulting in a warning or a citation.

Already in effect are doubled fines for speeding on the bridge.

Interestingly, the money collected in fines will go into Atchafalaya Basin Bridge Safety Fund, a specific account to cover the costs of maintaining the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge Safety Corridor, and any additional money they collect will be divided between St. Martin and Iberville Parishes, the two that the bridge runs through.

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