Causeway commission set to consider hiking bridge tolls

Causeway commission set to consider hiking bridge tolls

MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - Causeway commission leaders plan to unveil a proposal that would boost tolls to cross the bridge.

Officials will lay out a $1 toll increase proposal at a meeting tonight at the commission's headquarters.

When the bridge opened in 1956, 50,000 drivers crossed the Causeway annually. This year, 12 million will make the drive.

Causeway staff is recommending the $1 increase to fund $103 million in improvements.

Roughly $40 million would go to raising the 25-inch guardrails on the southbound side to 46 inches. This would keep SUV and truck drivers from going off the bridge. At 25 inches tall, the current rails on the southbound side were designed for the cars of the 1950s.

In addition to higher guardrails, Causeway officials are also looking at safety bays for vehicles to pull over in an emergency.

Cars that break down have nowhere to go. Officials say that happens up to six times a day. While police respond on average in five minutes, in 2015 65 of 178 accidents were rear-end collisions occurring within the first two minutes of a breakdown.

The commission isn't expected to vote on the plan until next month.

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