LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Marie Pace, the owner of That’s Health at the intersection of Grand Pointe Blvd. and Kaliste Saloom Road, spoke out on the dangers and road hazards that one of LUS’s utility box locations has on drivers.
“We want the box moved. It needs to be moved,” she said. “The big issue is that on Kaliste Saloom, we have a number of speeders. The speeders are not going to be stopped. There’s no way that we can completely control speeders on Kaliste Saloom at this point but we have a utility box that is obstructing the view of traffic coming out of our neighborhood at the Grand Point subdivision and obstructing the view of people on Kaliste Saloom coming this way.”
Late last month, on Dec. 23 around 4 p.m., Pace’s building was damaged by a car accident involving two drivers.
“They hit each other, and the car coming on Kaliste Saloom took out the car, a stop sign and hit my office building. So almost $100,000 worth of property damage between two vehicles and a building, and someone could have easily lost their lives,” said Pace.
Sgt. Robin Green with the Lafayette Police Department said the accident was due to the driver turning left off of Grand Pointe Blvd. and onto Kaliste Saloom Road, where the driver hit a vehicle moving Eastbound. The driver was cited for failure to yield, and Ryan Klump, 37, who was hit on Kaliste Saloom Road, was arrested for an OWI.
Pace believes the way to improve road safety and future accidents is by the city moving the utility box.
“Individuals are going past the line where they’re supposed to stop. They have to go past the line and stick the nose of their vehicle into Kaliste Saloom in order to see how they should be able to go, but they’re like panic because they can turn right or turn left. They’re panicking literally,” she said.
Warren Abadie, the director of the traffic, roads & bridges department, said his department performed a sight distance study at the intersection and found that the distance that individuals can see at the intersection along with the speed limit on Kaliste Saloom there’s an adequate amount of sight distance at the intersection.
“I do realize that there’s a curve on Kaliste Saloom. So there are certain sections on Kaliste Saloom intersect where it’s straight, and you can see practically forever. There’s a limit here as far as the distance that you can see. However, it does meet engineering standards as far as speed limits, even with the box there,” he said.
He suggests if drivers of the neighborhood are anxious about turning left, an option is to turn right, go around the roundabout at Kaliste Saloom at E. Broussard and then come back.
“That is definitely a safer maneuver anytime you can turn right and go a little bit on your way instead of turning left across five lanes; that will always be safer, but we do understand that it’s not that convenient,” he said.
“The bottom line is it’s an obstruction to the safety, and we’re going to end up having somebody killed. We’re already doing tons of damage to property. It’s not okay. It needs to be moved,” said Pace. “Even if it costs $100,000 to move, it is gonna cost a whole lot more to have a lawsuit on their hands.”
As part of the Public Works widening of Kaliste Saloom, the utility box had been moved to a new location. The customer has spoken with LUS about the placement, and we advised the customer that the current location is within all rules and regulations. We will reach out to our partners in Public Works to discuss it further.Lafayette Utilities System Spokesperson Alex Antonowitsch
Abadie said the department would continue to monitor the area, and if the level of crashes rises, then action will be required. If you have any concerns, he can be reached at 337-291-8548.