Happening Today: Causeway toll increase approved, goes into effect in May

Happening Today: Causeway toll hike approved

(WVUE) - Soon, drivers will be paying more to cross the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

The Jefferson Parish Council approved a toll increase to $3 for toll tag commuters and $5 for drivers who pay their tolls in cash.

The Causeway Commission says a bond is needed to pay for safety improvements. Some of those improvements include a shoulder and higher guardrails.

The Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany Parish say the bridge is already safe enough citing the Causeway Commission's own numbers, which show the bridge is 2.1 times safer than Interstates 10 and 12.

The Causeway Commission says 16 cars have gone into the water in the last two decades. Eight of those happened in the last three years, prompting the call for improvements.

"When it was designed shoulders weren't the standard," said Carlton Dufrechou, general manager of the Causeway Commission. "Today they would be, that's why we really want those segmented shoulders."

Dufrechou says shoulder expansion could more than double, or even triple emergency stopping area on the bridge.

The price tag for the improvements currently stands at $103 million.

The toll increase goes into effect in May.

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