Louisiana lawmaker calls for clear roads during rush hours

| 4/25/2006

A bill in the Louisiana House would prohibit highway work requiring the closure of at least one lane of traffic from being done during rush hours.

Sponsored by Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, the measure would forbid highway construction and maintenance during the peak drive hours of 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Existing Louisiana law specifies that major roadwork be done at night between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. or during other “non-peak” traffic hours, such as weekends.

Projects can be exempted from the rule if traffic studies determine that non-peak work hours cause “undo hardship or significant delay” to drivers.

But Crowe said the law isn’t being followed and numerous traffic delays are the result. He singled out work on the Interstate 10 twin spans linking eastern New Orleans and Slidell, The Times-Picayune reported. He also cited work on the U.S. 11 bridge over Lake Pontchartrain.

Crowe’s bill would require the removal of all barricades, equipment and workers during the specified peak drive times.

The bill also would require state contracts to contain language prohibiting contractors from working at those times. Violators would face a 5 percent loss of the contract amount for each day they are in violation.

HB1173 is in the House Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.