St. Charles Herald-Guide

Airline Highway canal still a danger

Our View - April 25, 2007

One danger spot has existed in St. Charles Parish for many years and nothing has been done to eliminate it. It is the deep roadside canal along Airline Highway in the vicinity of I-310 crossing.

Four siblings were killed there four years ago when their car went into the canal and sank to the bottom. And others have died from being trapped in their vehicles in similar accidents.
The canal is still open inviting other such fatalities in the future. There is no indication to the motorists that a slight diversion off the highway could bring an abrupt end to their driving experiences.
Allen and Sandra Washington, parents of the four who drowned in 2003, have started a crusade to ask Gov. Kathleen Blanco to have safety barriers put along that stretch of highway. After three weeks, there has been no response.
State highway officials have warned that barriers would impede rescue efforts if other accidents happen in the future. Then if that is not the solution, they should come up with one that will work.
In the immediate future, at least, there should be some warnings of the danger of a miscue along the highway ending in tragedy. Signs saying “Danger, deep water in roadside canal ahead”
could forewarn motorists of the threat. Perhaps even an indication of how many deaths have occurred there would alert motorists to be extra careful.
A barrier of some sort would be the most sure protective device. Hopefully the governor and highway officials will consider it or at least another type of protective device to help avoid any more such tragedies. And soon.