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New Plan for Causeway Will Hopfully Keep Vehicles from Going Over

MANDEVILLE, La. (WGNO) - Causeway officials are looking at ways to make the bridge safer for drivers. It involves a plan that may have you paying more.

“As long as I’m the chairman I’m going to make the best decision that I can for the safety for everyone that crosses that bridge,” says Causeway Commission Chairman Michael Lorino.

Causeway officials are exploring ways to make the commute across Lake Pontchartrain safer. At a meeting in Mandeville they laid out two options. Option A would raise the guardrails to 46 inches. Option B puts them at 37 inches.

Currently the barriers on the Northbound bridge are 31 inches, while those on the original bridge that brings drivers South are only 25 inches tall.

William Williams with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute says, “When we were working on the bridge we could take a hammer and remove these posts.”

“What looks like a guardrail is actually always designed as a handrail. It was never intended to be a barrier. It’s a rail,” says Causeways General Manager Carlton Dufrechou.

Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou is passionate about making the crossing safer. Since 1993 he says 12 vehicles have gone over. All but one of them were heading South, and all but one were trucks or SUVs.

“We’re here tonight primarily because you cannot put a price on the value of a life of any individual,” says Dufrechou.

The improvements are said to cost in the $50-Million range. Ways to fund the project include grants, state allocated funds, and a possible increase to tolls.

“I think it’s time to raise the tolls,” says one commuter.

“I don’t want to see the tolls go up. Nobody really wants to see the tolls go up,” says a commuter.