Bill to clear roads during rush hours heads to Louisiana governor

| Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Louisiana Legislature has approved a bill that would prohibit highway work requiring the closure of at least one lane of traffic from being done during rush hours.

The House voted 91-4 Sunday, June 18, to send the bill to Gov. Kathleen Blanco's desk for her signature. The Senate unanimously approved the bill June 16.

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

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 four-year-old 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.

The bill – HB1173 – would require the removal of all barricades, equipment and workers during the specified peak drive times. It also would require state contracts to contain language prohibiting contractors from working at those times.

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