On Memorial Day weekend, we reported on a horrible crash on 1-12 in the Madisonville/Covington area. An 18 wheeler collided with several vehicles backed up on the interstate at the Highway 21 interchange. 4 died, including the truck driver. 12 others were hurt.
Unfortunately, this is not some isolated incident.
Traffic regularly comes to a standstill in this section of I-12. Hundreds of accidents have been reported in the last two years. The area has seen remarkable growth since the 2010 census, and with more people moving to this area of the north shore, local traffic will only get worse.
If you're on the south shore, remember the I-12 also serves as a relief valve for 1-10, allowing east/west through traffic to bypass New Orleans and provide some relief to the traffic woes in the city. That means many drivers on I-12 are not from the area and are unfamiliar with how treacherous this seemingly normal stretch of road can be.
And don't take for granted this stretch of road is a vital artery for hurricane evacuation.
A DOTD plan already exists to add additional lanes through the Madisonville/Covington/Mandeville area in 2023. St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister has been lobbying the governor to fast track this. She argues that we cannot wait 5 years to address it.
The state needs to find a solution and find it now.