SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Construction of life-saving cable barriers was supposed to begin two months ago along Interstate 20 in Bossier and Webster Parish. It hasn't happened. Not a scoop of dirt turned over. Not a single pole or cable installed in the median.
Rebecca Bartley wants to know, "How many lives have to be lost before they actually get them up?"
Bartley says her oldest son was friends the victim of Wednesday night's fatal accident on the 3132 Inner Loop in west Shreveport. 28-year-old Casey Colley was killed when the driver of a truck crossed the center grassy median and struck her SUV head on.
"Another family shouldn't have to go through what we did when something is out there to stop it," added Bartley.
Bartley has become an advocate for cable barriers here in Louisiana after her son was critically injured in an head on collision last summer. Two were killed in that wreck, including 16-year-old Megan Mote of Shreveport.
"We will never get over this. Ever," said Megan's mother Kelly Hatfield.
Both were told during an ceremonial groundbreaking this past summer that construction on cable barriers along I-20 would begin in late September. The barriers would also be built at the very spot of last year's head on collision involving their children.
"I haven't seen one thing. I just feel, right now, empty promises," added Hatfield.
A visual check of any sign of barrier construction along I-20 turned up nothing. So we went to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for answers.
"Around the end of October, the contractor began charging for time," explains Susan Stafford, spokesperson with LA DOTD.
We asked why they're billing the state for if nothing has happened out there yet. "We had approximately 8 days for the construction to go out and do work from October 21st to now," Stafford says, and the rainy weather has delayed and slowed construction considerably.
When we contacted Blount Brothers Construction, the local company who won the bid to install the barriers, they agreed that the rain has been a problem.
But owner Denzil Blount also shared his disappointment that LA DOTD has yet to approve his dirt samples so construction can begin. Blount says 50,000 truck loads will need to be brought in before construction is complete. "Every time I hear of an accident, a life lost, major injuries, I get more and more upset," said Hatfield.
Federal guidelines suggest any high speed highway, with a median of less than 65 feet, should consider installing barriers.
I-20 near Haughton where Megan was killed and Jonathon was badly injured, the median is 57 feet wide. And at the site of the December 4th accident on the 3132 Inner Loop that took Colley's life, is only 54 feet wide. However barriers have not been approved for the Inner Loop.