Drivers want better safety precautions on Causeway after Sunday's fatal accident

Drivers want better safety precautions on Causeway after Sunday's fatal accident

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - For the second time in a month, a man is dead after his vehicle went over the side of the Causeway Bridge and plunged into Lake Pontchartrain. Sunday morning's accident happened in the Southbound lanes eight miles from the North Shore.

Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou is angry that scenes like this keep happening. "Way too often, way too often, without a doubt. That's why our priority is to improve the rails," Dufrechou said.

At around 10:00 a.m. Sunday, a witness noticed a man driving an SUV begin to swerve. Then, his vehicle flipped over the side of the bridge.

"Unfortunately no one surfaced in this one. The driver was still in the vehicle when we recovered the vehicle," Dufrechou explained.

Just three weeks ago, 57-year-old Edward Burton was killed after the attenuator vehicle he was driving, got knocked over the side of the bridge by a garbage truck. Burton was there to protect construction workers on the Causeway. A week before that, an 18-wheeler dangled over the water after the driver lost control.

Texas A & M is in the process of testing different railing and barrier systems for the bridge and on December 8th, the biggest test to date, will be performed.

Dufrechou explains, "The crash tests are actually taking physical vehicles, large box trucks, the SUV's, the F-250 Fords, and regular automobiles and physically crashing them into the barriers at highway speed."

Dufrechou says the goal is to strengthen the existing barriers and increase the railing height by several inches. Right now, the Northbound railings are 30 inches tall while the Southbound are only 25 inches.

But funding for the project could be an issue and motorists may be asked to fork over higher tolls. "That is the last resort but is it something on the table? Yes," Dufrechou said.

It's an idea drivers we spoke to say they'd be open to.

Alex Ironmonger says, "I'm sure we could all afford a dollar here and there."

Esther Trotter says, "To save a life, yeah."

Dufrechou says the goal is to have the new railings in place by next year. He says the sooner, the better.

The name and age of the man killed in Sunday's accident hasn't yet been released.

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