Cable barrier would cost $1 million
That’s what manufacturers of a cable barrier system told Representative Gary Smith at an independent meeting he called with the company’s spokesman and two tasks force members last week.
“I’m not a member of the Airline Highway Task Force, but I did invite two people, Sheriff Greg Champagne and Capt. Kenneth Curlee, to watch a presentation from the company about installing a cable barrier system to prevent fatal car accidents and vehicles going into the canal,” Smith said.
A representative from Nucor Corporation Steel Marion Incorporated, which manufactures highway safety products including the cable barrier system, illustrated the finer points of their system to the task force.
“We have a system in place that’s working in other states,” Rick Mauer, company spokesman, said. “I think it will be ideal for Airline Highway.”
Smith says Nucor’s presentation went well, but he recommended a cable barrier system years ago.
“Originally, when I proposed the idea about installing a cable barrier along Airline, I was told that it wouldn’t work by representatives from the Department of Transportation,” he said. “But times have changed and equipment continues to improve and this system is being used in other states already.”
Smith says he witnessed an accident once where a vehicle hit a cable barrier.
“It didn’t go back into the traffic,” he said. “I know we listened to a lot of statistical data the company had to share with us based on systems they’ve already got in place. I know there is a cable system in Slidell on I-12, and its similar to the one they showed us.”
Smith says the Louisiana Department of Transportation had rejected cable barriers previously because the soil along Airline was too weak to hold the structure in place and the cable would be stretched too long.
“I know this company hasn’t done any soil samplings or studies of any kind on Airline at this point, but they are basing their knowledge off of cable systems they’ve put in other states all over the nation,” Smith said. “But that’s without the soil study being done. I think that if they have to make other adjustments, or add some concrete to the supporting structures, that price could go up.”
Smith says he hasn’t spoken to Gov. Bobby Jindal yet, but plans to as soon as he gets an opportunity.
“I know the Governor is just coming out of a special session, but I definitely plan on talking with him about the situation on Airline Highway,” he said.
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