SMASHING VIDEO: Causeway Bridge rail upgrade gets tested

SMASHING VIDEO: Causeway Bridge rail upgrade gets tested

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - The new guardrail design for the Causeway Bridge is starting to take shape.

On Thursday, Texas A&M engineers put their hybrid rail to the test, and the results were more than impressive.

"It's the most successful we've had," Causeway Commission General Manager Carlton Dufrechou said.

The Commission is looking to upgrade the rails along the 23-mile bridge in an effort to keep newer-model cars from flipping over into Lake Pontchartrain. The video released by Texas A&M shows a large 20,000-pound moving truck crashing into the rail. It withstood the massive blow and deflected the truck back into the roadway.

"It kept the impact all in one lane, no diversion to a second lane and righted the truck right away. We are very pleased with the test results," Dufrechou said.

The Commission is searching for federal dollars and grants to pay for the upgrade that will cost "tens of millions of dollars," according to Dufrechou. If the fees are not gathered through grants, raising the $3 toll could be an option.

"We are looking at every means of financing available. Are tolls a potential one? Certainly," Dufrechou said. "The bridges were always funded by tolls. The original construction was funded by bonds. That's an option too."

Engineers still have to test the latest rail design with smaller cars and SUV's before they make their final suggestion to the Commission. But commissioners say with Thursday's impressive results, they hope to start installing the new rails in a year and a half.

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