Louisiana laws clear roads during rush hours, boost truck fee

| Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gov. Kathleen Blanco has signed a pair of bills into law that are of interest to truckers.

One new law prohibits highway work requiring the closure of at least one lane of traffic from being done during rush hours. Previously HB1173, the new law forbids 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 “(undue) hardship or significant delay” to drivers.

Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, said the four-year-old law needed revamping because it isn’t being followed and numerous traffic delays are the result. He singled out work on the Interstate 10 Twinspan Bridge linking eastern New Orleans and Slidell and work on the U.S. 11 Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain, The Times-Picayune reported.

Already in effect, the new law requires the removal of all barricades, equipment and workers during the specified peak drive times. It also requires state contracts to contain language prohibiting contractors from working at those times.

Another bill signed into law by Blanco increases the fee for issuance of temporary permits that authorize trucks to be operated in Louisiana by out-of-state or out-of-country truck drivers that don’t have reciprocal agreements with the state.

Existing state law authorizes out-of-state truck drivers to travel on roads in the state without securing registration or license in Louisiana. The only requirement for travel is that the truck’s owner secures a temporary license and registration in the state.

The new law, previously HB1175, doubles the fee for a temporary license and registration from $25 to $50. It takes effect Aug. 15.

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