A study has named U.S. Highway 90 through south Louisiana as the most dangerous highway in the state and the 13th most dangerous in the nation.
The study, released by Geotab, a transportation and business fleet consulting firm, used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration to find the most dangerous highway and give it a “Fatal Crash Rate.”
The rate was determined by looking at the annual number of fatal crashes on each highway while adjusting them for the amount of daily traffic.
U.S. Hwy. 90 sees an average of 27 fatal crashes a year, the data show.
Getting exact numbers by parish for fatalities along the highway is difficult, but according to news articles archived by databug.com, most fatal crashes last year happened in St. Mary, St. Charles and Iberia parishes.
“The reason for that is because they have no controlled access onto Highway 90. You have access points all over with people entering onto the road, and most accidents are caused by immediate braking, rear-end collisions or side collisions as people are turning on or entering the roadway,” said Kevin Belanger, CEO of the South Central Planning and Development Commission in Gray.
For years, local politicians and business interests have pushed to upgrade Hwy. 90 to interstate standard -- it would be called I-49 South -- which would limit access to the roadway, easing travel between Lafayette and New Orleans.
A study by Regional Economic Models and CDM Smith for the Community Foundation of Acadiana, which focused mostly on the project in Lafayette, did project that the stretch of highway from Raceland to Des Allemands could be completed by 2023 and cost about $150 million while the highway from Des Allemands to Interstate 310 in St. Charles Parish could be completed by 2021 at a cost of $838.5 million.
But local officials say that timetable is optimistic, especially since neither the federal nor state government has identified a source of money for the roadwork.
U.S. 90 at Exit 202 to Houma usually sees about 20,000 vehicles traveling in both directions every day.
State Police Troop C in Gray reports that over the past four years, the stretch of U.S. 90 it oversees usually has around one or two fatal crashes every year. Over the past four-and-a-half years, there have been seven fatal crashes on U.S. 90 in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes.
“Although our fatal crash numbers are low in our area, any life lost on a highway in this state is a tragedy,” said trooper Jessie LaGrange if Troop C. “Our mission across the state is to ensure safe travel for all of our motorists and we depend on the public to do their part by driving safely and obeying traffic laws.”
Belanger said the St. Mary Parish stretch of U.S. 90 should start to see a drop in crashes once J-turns are completed that will allow safer access and on and off the highway.
“The improvements they’re making are going to help it, but until they have fully controlled access highways with on-ramps and acceleration lanes, you’re going to expect high-rates-of-speed accidents to occur and with that comes fatal accidents,” Belanger said.
-- Staff Writer Dan Boudreaux can be reached at 857-2204 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_boudreaux.
Posted on Fri, July 21, 2017
by By Dan Boudreaux