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Content for this site is produced by Gannett News Service's Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bureau, in partnership with Louisiana Gannett newspapers :
No truckers caught speeding on Atchafalaya Basin bridge
Posted on September 10, 2003

A new speed limit sign is seen posted at left as a truck drives on the Atchafalaya Basin bridge Monday near Lafayette. The bridge over the Atchafalaya Basin has a new, lower speed limit for 18-wheelers. Commercial vehicles now must stay in the right lane and obey a 55-mph speed limit on the 17-mile stretch of Interstate 10 through St. Martin and Iberville parishes. Cars and private trucks have a 60-mph limit and may use the left lane. (Photo by P.C. Piazza/Louisiana Gannett News)
The Associated Press

LAFAYETTE -- The bridge over the Atchafalaya Basin has a new, lower speed limit for 18-wheelers, but troopers have yet to report any truckers speeding, state police said.

Commercial vehicles must stay in the right lane and obey a 55-mph speed limit on the 17-mile stretch of Interstate 10 through St. Martin and Iberville parishes. Cars and private trucks have a 60-mph limit and may use the left lane.

The new speed limit signs went up Monday and troopers had reported no truckers caught speeding by Tuesday, state police spokesman Will Williams Jr. said. There were 33 motorists caught traveling between 77 mph and 92 mph Monday, he said.

``Truck drivers were already obeying the signs and staying in the right lane.'

Gov. Mike Foster ordered the lowered speed limit and lane limitation after an 18-wheeler smashed into a line of slow-moving cars in July, killing five people, including the truck driver.

The state transportation department said last week that truckers caught speeding in the first 30 days of the new rules would get verbal warnings, not tickets. However, Williams said, state police had not been given clear directions on whether there would be such a grace period.

A trucking group has warned that the lower speed limits and lane restrictions could lead to dangerous traffic bottlenecks. The administration has countered that the limits will be enforced sensibly and that truckers will not be ticketed if it is necessary for them to get into the left lane briefly to pass slow-moving vehicles.

There are two exits on the bridge and a wide shoulder off the right lane. Occasional cross-bridges connecting the lanes are kept closed but open for emergency purposes. When an accident occurs on the bridge, traffic is clogged until the accident is cleared.


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