Tragic accident sparks speed limit change on Highway 3 in Bossier Parish

(Source: Jasmine Payoute/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Jasmine Payoute/KSLA News 12)
Updated: Apr. 18, 2018 at 8:09 PM CDT
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BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Every day 20,000 cars pass up and down Highway 3, which is also known as Benton Road. The growing volume of traffic and a handful of accidents including one that killed a 4-year-old child last year is behind this sudden drop in speed.

"I'm happy they did it; too many accidents," said Bossier Parish resident Donald Washington.

The Department of Transportation and Development announced last week that drivers hitting the road along the six-mile stretch of Highway 3 would have to slow it down.

"Our traffic engineer conducted the study and found that lowering the speed limit from 65 to 55 was a recommendation that he made. It was warranted," said Department of Transportation and Development Public Information Officer Erin Buchanan.

Buchanan says the study was conducted based on the recommendations of the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office, the police jury, and concerned citizens.

"With the confusion of the speed limit changes also with the difficulty of enforcing those speed limits from the sheriffs perspective he said let's look at this, let's find out what's going on," said Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Bill Davis.

Katie, also known as 'Katie Bug,' died a week after being thrown from her booster seat, in a two-vehicle crash, at the intersection of Highway 3 and Kingston Road.

"... And just after that accident happened some months ago, we had another crash right here at this same intersection where we're standing now," Davis said.

While crash data played a significant role in the change, Davis says North Bossier Parish's booming residential growth was also taken into consideration.

"Kingston was a little jump road if you will from Benton to Airline there were cows on the side of the road, it was a country road. It's had phenomenal growth, and it's going to continue to get that way, more traffic more people, more safety and that's really what it's all about."

That growth factors in Kingston Elementary school on Kingston Road. And the soon-to-be new Benton High School that will be located right behind Kingston Elementary.

Along Highway 3 new 'speed limit in effect,' signs have been put up to alert drivers of the 10 miles per hour change in speed. DOTD says this change will add about 40 seconds, 38 seconds exactly, to your commute.

"You can see the difference, you can see the change in the traffic. It's a good thing that they changed the speed limit from 65 to 55 because 65 they gonna do 75-80, so 55 I'm pretty sure they're not gonna do more than 65 because the cops are out here … all due to the fact speeding and the accidents and I'm glad they did it," said Washington.

All parties agree that the new speed limit will take some getting used to.

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