PILOT PROJECT HOPES TO IMPROVE VISIBILITY ON I-10 BRIDGE

By Theresa Schmidt, KPLC

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They are called barrier alert or median alert devices and their inventor said they're a cost effective way to make the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge safer.

 

Installation is expected to begin Wednesday night.

 

To many people, the I-10 bridge is scary enough during the daytime, but as this nighttime video shows, it's quite dark on the bridge. But Greg Driskell's invention will be wrapped around the bridge median to increase visibility.

 

"It's flexible as you can see. What it does is it goes around that barrier and creates kind of a top hat over it. And what that does is it actually shows the shape of that barrier on the bridge, so again the driver gets a clear, concise message as the size and shape, not just the location, and that there's something there or a structure there,"said Driskell, president of Professional Pavement Products Inc.

 

He said the reflective surface is much brighter than traditional reflectors and it gets brighter the closer you get to it with your headlights.

 

"These little elements here," he explained, pointing to the yellow reflective components, "these are the elements that are anywhere between 3,000- 5,000 times brighter than traffic paint and beads that they use on roadways. It also has a coating on it and that coating keeps it from being scratched up," said Driskell. "It's visibility comes from your headlights so what happens is that headlight hits the device, hits the reflective material and comes back to the driver."

 

Putting the barrier alerts on the I-10 bridge is a pilot project but Driskell predicts it will make a major difference for many drivers.

 

"Let's say you're driving home after working all day, and you're exhausted. Your vision is going to be affected by that. If you're an older driver, your vision is affected. If you're a truck driver and you're up higher, your vision is affected. If you're an emergency response person, a police department or fire department, you're at a higher rate of speed, so all those things play a part in the dangers of crossing any bridge," he said.

 

Driskell said it also improves visibility in the rain.

 

So, if all goes according to plans, it should be a lot easier to see the barrier after Wednesday night.

 

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