State responds to concerns about safety of Haughton highway
HAUGHTON, LA (KSLA) -
KSLA News 12's investigation Monday night into an accident-prone road in Haughton caught the attention of state officials who are now vowing to address safety concerns.
Neighbors say since our story aired, they've seen the fastest response time than they've ever seen from state workers out on Highway 614. Now they hope permanent results are found.
"Something needs to be done, because you know, you could save somebody," said Haughton resident Sonny Dushel. He and other neighbors who live near where Highway 614 intersects with Highway 80, say on rainy days for the past 4 years at least 20 cars have slid off this portion of the highway. The cars hit mailboxes, gas lines, and have even flipped upside down in Christine Thomas' ditch. "All of the drivers all say the same thing, I couldn't steer, I couldn't break, it grabbed me, I was gone," said neighbor Christine Thomas.
The neighbors fear someone will get hurt or killed on the road soon. State Representative Henry Burns heard their concerns Monday night on KSLA News 12. "My wife turned to me and said you better get on this," said Burns.
With his wife's urging, he decided to make the dangerous roadway his project. He contacted the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to check it out. Within hours of burns' phone call on Tuesday, DOTD spokesman Susan Stafford says engineers were inspecting the roadway, "Safety is always our top priority with our roadways and our motorists, so we are taking this very seriously," said Stafford and adds DOTD crews were out again Wednesday clearing the shoulders off to improve drainage.
But neighbor Carol Busby got a surprising response when she asked them what they were doing, "They said they were trying to see what it would take to get some cry babies to shut up," said Busby, but adds that worker later apologized. Still the neighbors are happy the road is getting attention, but Busby hopes it isn't all for show. "I'm afraid it's just going to be another band aid effect. Until they make it so that road doesn't cup that water," she said.
Representative Burns vows to stay on top of it. He says he'll bring up the issue at a meeting on Thursday with the DOTD to find a long term solution.
Stafford also says DOTD will continue to monitor that roadway.