Louisiana Officials Look To Make Canals Safer After 3 Deaths
METAIRIE, LA (AP) — Louisiana officials are looking for ways to make canals along urban roadways safer for motorists after three people were killed in accidents involving cars veering off roads in Jefferson Parish. A mother and her young daughter and a firefighter were killed this month in separate accidents in Metairie, multiple news outlets reported.
The New Orleans Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas reports Elizabeth Braddock, 32, and her 6-year-old daughter, Carissa Wise, died Tuesday after Braddock's SUV spun out of control and plunged into a murky suburban canal. Four days earlier, the body of 33-year-old firefighter and Iraq war veteran David Yeomans was pulled from his submerged truck in another Metairie canal after he apparently lost control of the vehicle.
Officials say in the wake of the tragedies they are exploring the cost of installing crash barriers along canals in heavily trafficked areas, since not all of the parish's 340 miles of canals are near busy suburban roads. But officials say erecting barriers even in limited areas would cost the parish millions of dollars because the banks of several canals would need to be widened to accommodate them.
"The issue is always funding, but certainly we're going to look at every option," parish President John Young told WVUE-TV’s Rob Krieger. "If I had my druthers, I'd love to be able to cover all the canals as long as we don't compromise drainage capacity."
Despite the potential cost, several officials say they are determined to make the canals safer. Parish council members are meeting with state lawmakers and state transportation officials to identify funding sources to build barriers. Young said he is working with the public works and drainage departments in considering several options, including covering up several canals in busy areas.