Standing water blamed for I-10 accidents

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The cars come fast along the stretch of I-10 between Lake Charles and Iowa where the newly reconstructed roadway appears in tip top shape, nice and smooth. But, when driving in this area in the rain, you may notice water standing on the interstate.

Lake Charles attorney Norman Thigpen represents three people injured in two accidents. "Two of which were in a wreck in early July and have been in the hospital for approximately 30 days now, in and out of ICU."

Thigpen says locals are aware of the problem but expresses concern about those who don't live in southwest Louisiana. "Their car can and will hydroplane if they're not careful. Something needs to be done to warn people who are not aware of this area. Something is improper with this roadway to cause the water to stand. Til I hire my own experts and engineers to look at it I can't tell you what the problem is. Just that there is definitely a problem."

Whether there is actually a defect in the roadway is no doubt something for the experts to argue. But highway officials have acknowledged an increase in wet weather accidents and they plan to resurface a ten mile stretch of interstate. Said Steve Jiles with the State Department of Transportation and Development last week, "Now we have recognized an increase in the wet weather accidents which is what prompted our belief that we needed to try to come up with this open graded friction course...we feel like this will improve it some. It'll be pretty similar to a normal overlay project that people see everyday except the mix design is different, but it becomes more poised and there will be some slow, minor slope correction in places along there."

Meanwhile officials say if people drive appropriately for weather conditions they can make safe passage through the area.

State highway officials say they are willing to explore whether additional signs might be warranted in that area of Interstate Ten.

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