DOTD announces start of Orleans Parish cable barrier project
Thursday, August 21, 2014
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Continuing its commitment to provide the safest roadways, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, along with Representative Austin Badon and its public safety partners, announced a project to install median cable barriers along Interstate10 in New Orleans East between I-510 and the Twin Span Bridge.

Speaking at the City Church on the I-10 service road, DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas was joined by the District 100 leader and, and Sgt. Nick Manale of Louisiana State Police (Troop B). The $1.2 million project will install the safety mechanisms along approximately eight miles of I-10 and is expected to be completed by December 2014.

“The safety of Louisiana roadways for our citizens remains paramount in our efforts to ensure that we apply the best technology and industry standards for improvement,” said LeBas. “The Jindal Administration has continuously shown its commitment to improving the state’s infrastructure with an unprecedented investment of $6.3 billion, to date.”

Cable barriers are a safety feature designed to deflect a vehicle that enters the median, keeping it from potentially crossing over into oncoming traffic. They absorb the impact of the collision and hold a vehicle in the median, not pushing the vehicle back into oncoming traffic.

Median crossover crashes often result in fatalities or severe injuries to occupants of the errant vehicle and the motorists in the opposing traffic lanes. Cable barrier installation is an innovative and cost-effective solution to prevent fatalities, and is proven in preventing crossover collisions. Upon completion of the project, all 24 miles of I-10 in New Orleans will have crossover protection.

"This is a great day for the people of the greater metropolitan area. Now we can say we can close this gap," said Badon. “Virtually every inch of highway in the greater metropolitan area will be safeguarded by either the cable barrier system or one of the concrete barrier systems. I know it save lives; I know that it will protect people; it will make our highways safer.”

Work is expected to begin next week and be completed by December 2014. The project, fully funded by federal safety funds, was awarded to Massana Construction, Inc., of Georgia following a February 2014 letting. To date, DOTD has installed approximately 81 miles of cable barriers throughout the state at an investment of approximately $11.8 million.

"Since the first installation of cable barriers, State Police has seen a drastic reduction in crossover type crashes, serious injury crashes and fatality crashes," said Manale. “We consider every vehicle that impacts those barriers and stops from crossing into oncoming traffic a tragedy prevented – and, that’s our ultimate goal.”

As a primary evacuation route and artery for thousands of commuters between Slidell and the greater New Orleans area, improving safety along this segment of I-10 was included in the three-year plan to install nearly 330 miles of cable barriers across the Interstate System. The approximate cost to install cable barriers is $200,000 per mile. The estimated cost to the State to install cable barriers along needed interstate segments is approximately $60 million. To accomplish this goal, DOTD will use a combination of federal and state funding.

The need for a cable barrier system arose from the 2006 legislative session when a resolution was passed to look into the feasibility of installing these safety features. As part of a pilot study, the first two areas to receive cable barriers were along the entire length of I-12 in St. Tammany Parish and along the entire length of I-10 in St. James Parish. Later, cable barriers were installed on I-12 throughout the length of Tangipahoa Parish; I-10 from the St. John Parish line to the Hope Canal, a distance of about 19.5 miles; I-10 from Veterans Interchange in Jefferson Parish throughout St. John, St. James and Ascension parishes, ending at Highland Road in Baton Rouge – approximately 22.5 miles, and the latest project to install cable barriers is underway along the I-20 corridor, which will add another 116 miles at an investment of approximately $15.9 million.

DOTD performs analyses on all interstates throughout Louisiana to determine where cable median barriers would be most beneficial in preventing cross-over collisions. The criteria used are number of vehicles crossing the median per mile.

DOTD remains committed to highway safety and looks continuously for innovative and cost-effective measures. The cable barrier system is a testament to that commitment and, since they have been installed in Louisiana, there have been no incidents of vehicles crossing the median.