LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Safety on the interstates is a top priority for the Department of Transportation and it’s led to the installing of cable barriers to help prevent vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic.
In April, the state-wide project made its way to Calcasieu and Jeff Davis Parishes.
“These are a low-cost, innovative solutions to a big concern about people crossing the median and hitting oncoming traffic,” Department of Transportation and Development public information officer Tammy York said. “So, the cable barriers; we could put those in there and potentially protect life and property.”
Welsh was just one area getting the improvement because of many severe accidents crossing into oncoming traffic.
“More often than not, especially when they go all the way across;” Officer Shawn Donahoe said, “I’ve seen it a couple of times. There’s a fatality involved because they are hitting them head-on.”
Donahoe says working in the town, most accidents he’s seen there made it into the median or crossed over it.
“Really, pretty much every one; once they started going off that shoulder, they are at least going to be in the grass, which that could cause them to flip over or they will be stuck there for a while,” Donahoe said.
The barriers have been completely installed in Jeff Davis parish. York says they have evidence the barriers are working from conducting routine maintenance checks.
“OK, a cable’s been impacted—that’s an obvious sign that someone has hit it and driven away,” York said. “So, one, the life was protected, and potentially the property because they were able to drive away safely.”
Welsh police say since the cables were installed, they’ve seen the number of severe accidents decrease. Donahoe referenced a recent two-vehicle accident involving an 18-wheeler.
“Without them there, there’s no telling. It might have gone all the way through. It might have stopped, might have flipped,” Donahoe said. “From what I could tell when I was out there, they definitely prevented it from getting worse.”
York says the barriers are a cheaper and more efficient option than concrete. DOTD says drivers can expect cable barriers to be installed along stretches of I-10 in Calcasieu Parish by spring 2019.