Louisiana to Improve Dangerous Exit Ramp
January 29, 2001
Louisiana officials plan to make several safety improvements to a sharply curved interstate exit ramp north of Slidell.
According to The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune,
a truck driver died in a rollover crash three months ago on the ramp linking eastbound Interstate 12 to northbound Interstate 59.
"We believe the ramp is safe if people follow the posted 20-mph speed advisory," state DOT spokesman Robert Roth told the paper. "But there's no question there are more rollovers on that ramp than other ramps. That's why we need to do something to get people to slow down."
Planned changes include adding flashing lights to truck tipover warning signs, installing rumble strips across the deceleration lane to alert drivers, putting up a new exit sign that makes it clear vehicles are approaching a cloverleaf interchange, and raising the ramp's left shoulder to help prevent vehicles from tumbling down a steep embankment.
Most of the improvements are expected to be completed within a couple of months, with the shoulder work expected to take a little longer.
James Bell, Hawthorne, Fla., died Oct. 3 when his tanker skidded off the left side of the ramp and flipped. The exit was closed for more than eight hours as a hazardous materials crew pumped 6,000 gallons of flammable liquid from the damaged tank. Officials said Bell was driving too fast. Police have handled four other rollover crashes since that incident, according to the paper.