300 tickets issued since start of the year
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office has issued more than 300 speeding tickets on the heavily trafficked Ormond Boulevard this year, which has become even more busy with detour vehicles from Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge and now a resurfacing project.
Complaints about speeders, vehicles nearly hitting residents and floored mailboxes all arose as bridge traffic increased when the structure upgrade project began in February.
The bridge project isn’t expected to be finished until June.
The situation worsened when the $1.6 million repaving work began on three miles of the boulevard last month, and a bike path along both sides of the route became the route to detour traffic but it also brought vehicles closer to residences, as well as their mailboxes.
Resident Tammy LeMoine, who praised local officials’ response to their concerns, said the traffic is the worst she’s seen it in her 23 years living in the area. It also reminds her of the heavy traffic she hoped she had left behind in Metairie, where she used to live.
LeMoine said three mailboxes have been knocked down, including her own last Thursday in the construction zone by someone going 35 mph.
Just a few days earlier, her neighbor told her his mailbox was mowed down.
Another neighbor reported nearly being hit while trying to get his mail.
When the biking path wasn’t being used as a traffic detour, LeMoine said it was safer to get the mail.
When she joined efforts to alert local officials to the growing problem, LeMoine warned the downed mailbox could have easily been her eight-year-old daughter waiting for a school bus and asked for help.
“I can’t say enough about the people who told me they would step it up and worked together to get it resolved,” she said. “You don’t see that a lot – that was impressive.The Sheriff’s Office told residents it would patrol and issue tickets, which her neighbors have confirmed toward enforcing the 25 mph speed limit.
Ormond Boulevard “is the most heavily traveled north-south artery on the East Bank and even more so with the bridge,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes said. “This location is where roadwork is being done, causing traffic to be redirected to the bike lane essentially with all the barricades where the work is being done on the southern end of Ormond Boulevard.”
Yoes said part of the problem was lack of proper signage, which the parish has corrected.
Council Chairwoman Wendy Benedetto said the parish acted on residents’ concerns quickly.
“People just need to be patient,” Benedetto said of residents and motorists dealing with the resurfacing project. “It’s so narrow that the slightest turn is going to put you into a mailbox.”
Barriere Construction Inc., the contractor on the project, could have been more proactive with patrols, she said. But it’s been done and she anticipates a smoother project from now on although she acknowledged three mailboxes have been hit by motorists.
Parish Senior Engineer Lee Zeringue said the contractor is working with residents to resolve the speeding issue.
During construction work, the speed limit is 25 mph instead of the posted 35 mph, Zeringue said. Contractor and the Sheriff’s Office have been asked to help enforce the limit until the project is completed.