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Why crashes on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway are often so serious

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

commuting over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

Some roads are more dangerous than others because they host so much traffic. Other roads are dangerous due to design issues. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, unfortunately, is both a heavily-traveled bridge and an old enough piece of infrastructure to have outdated design elements.

For example, the concrete guardrails preventing vehicles from going off the bridge in the event of a crash were previously only 25 inches tall. Those barriers were ineffective given the size of modern vehicles. Adjustments to the bridge’s infrastructure added an additional steel railing that makes the total rail 46 inches tall. The goal is to prevent rollovers, especially those in which vehicles end up in the lake.

Unfortunately, despite those changes, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway remains an incredibly dangerous route that many drivers have to take frequently. In fact, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway has had an ignoble place on lists of the most dangerous roads in the country.

Weather, traffic and design all contribute to risk

When traffic flows like normal and the weather is standard, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is a convenient route for those commuting into Covington or other local communities for work. Unfortunately, all it takes is one vehicle stalling out on the bridge for traffic to devolve into utter chaos.

Multi-car pile-ups are common, as are rear-end collisions caused by drivers encountering disabled vehicles. The weather can also create serious safety hazards. Even low levels of rain can cause hydroplaning on the bridge. Heavier rain can easily affect visibility.

When temperatures start to drop later in the year, fog can also reduce the visibility on the bridge to nothing in some cases, especially in the evening or early in the morning. Combining those risk factors with a speed limit of 65 mph makes the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway a very dangerous place to drive. The average motorist may be on the causeway for 22 minutes, and there are numerous opportunities for things to go wrong during that time.

Anyone involved in a vehicle crash on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway may need to review the situation carefully before beginning a compensation claim. Having the right help when handling a complex car crash scenario can be beneficial for those with serious injuries and expensive property damage losses, given the complexities involved and all that is at stake.