Happening Today: Meeting on Causeway toll hikes comes amid renew - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Happening Today: Meeting on Causeway toll hikes comes amid renewed safety concerns

(Source: FOX 8 photo) (Source: FOX 8 photo)

The Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany will hold a public forum to gauge public opinion on proposed toll hikes for the Causeway.

 Bridge administrators say the hikes would bring in $103 million which would go towards safety improvements.

Today’s public meeting comes one day after a pick-up truck flew over a southbound guardrail and plunged into Lake Pontchartrain. The driver was rescued.

Bridge officials want to raise the tolls $1 for drivers who have toll tags, and $2 who those who pay cash.

In addition to creating safety bays where drivers could safely pull over in case of an emergency, some of the money from the proposed toll hikes would fund raising the guard rails on the southbound span which are significantly lower than those on the northbound side.

According to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune 15 vehicles have gone over the guardrails and into the water since 1994, mostly drivers heading south on the bridge.

“Fourteen of the 15 have been on the southbound bridge,” said Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou. “It just hits the message home that in my opinion this is like a hurricane, we know another one is going to come, it's just when, we've got to prepare for it.”

The right thing to do, he said, is to bring the bridge into the 21st century by adding safety bays and raising the rails on the southbound side.

The public meeting is today in Mandeville and the Causeway commission will vote on the toll hikes tomorrow.

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