The number of motor vehicle fatalities on Louisiana highways has dropped over the past several years, prompting Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to continue the trend by installing cable barriers on Interstate 20.
Webster Parish will be one of the next to receive cable barriers, along with Bossier Parish, DOTD announced Tuesday.
DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas outlined an estimated $4.5-$5 million project to install cable barriers on I-20 throughout Bossier and Webster parishes, a distance of approximately 28 miles.
"Cable barriers save lives," said Secretary LeBas. "The safety of Louisiana citizens is our highest priority, and our goal at DOTD is to continually look to improve and enhance our roadways to make them safer for the traveling public."
Cable barriers are designed to prevent head-on collisions by deflecting vehicles that veer into the median from crossing over into oncoming traffic. Cable barriers act as a net to catch vehicles and redirect them into the median, not pushing the vehicle back into traffic.
DOTD estimates that bids for the I-20 cable barrier project in Bossier and Webster parishes will be taken in the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year.
A DOTD spokesperson said there should be no full closures of I-20 when the project begins.
The work typically involves only closing the inside lane while crews are installing the barrier. One lane remains open in each direction throughout the work.
"I appreciate DOTD's commitment to pursuing projects that will enhance safety along our interstate system," said Sen. Robert Adley, senate chairman of the Transportation, Highway and Public Works Committee. "Installing cable barriers on I-20 is great news for north Louisiana."
DOTD says the cable barrier system is a testament to its commitment to safety. According to reports, since being installed in Louisiana, there have been no incidents of vehicles breaking through the barriers and crossing the median.
"Law enforcement officers all too often witness the devastating results of interstate crossover crashes," said Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police. "Since the installation of cable barriers in other parts of the state, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of such crashes and, in turn, a reduction in the number of fatal and serious injuries which could have resulted had not they been prevented by the use of cable barriers."
In addition to this project, LeBas discussed her statewide goal to install cable barriers over the next five years.
In the past several years, motor-vehicle fatalities in Louisiana have dropped to an all-time low with a 32 percent reduction in highway fatalities since 2007.