Hoping the coast is clear


June 1 is the first official day of Hurricane Season. That gives us a little more than two weeks to prepare for the heavy rains, the potential weather scares, and possible evacuations. However, since the beginning of the year Donaldsonville has been terribly affected by traffic due completely to the fact there is construction on the Sunshine Bridge as well a $2.1 billion expansion project going on at CF Industries. Should we be worried? Yes.

If Donaldsonville is threatened with a hurricane this year where we have to evacuate, we may be end up treading in some deep water with no way out. Well of course, there are ways out but how effective are they. The number one evacuation route out of Donaldsonville is always to take the Sunshine Bridge. Well with it being one lane going each direction and thousands of pounds of construction equipment on it, hanging from it, and around it, getting out of Donaldsonville may not be as easy as we think.

Last week I got a chance to ask Rick Webre of the Ascension Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness are there any other plans in case of such emergency. He said yes.

In fact his exact words were, “We’ve been talking to DOTD (Department of Transportation and Development), they understood and they know they had a long-term project, which is going to be a factor. This issue is that our evacuation route is the Sunshine Bridge. We know what impact it’s going to be for the local traffic. We communicate with DOTD constantly and we’ll have that information out as quickly as we can. All of the plans are in place, but if one gets modified we have to move somewhere else.”

The Office of Homeland Security does a great job at keeping us safe under any and all emergency situations, whether it’s been plant explosions or hurricanes. However, I’m still just going to hope the coast is clear for this hurricane season. I trust and believe Webre when he tells me it will be under control, but as time narrows it’s the public whom I fear won’t take the right advice when it comes to fleeing.

I believe we’ll get the right information in due time. I believe in the work of the homeland security, I just can’t put much faith in the common man because people panic. And when they do, things happen – bad things. I’d hate to be stuck in my car as the worst part of a hurricane passes Donaldsonville due to a vehicle accident because the public lost faith and lost focus on the plan.

I’ve already got my battery-operated radio set on KKAY 1590 AM because that’s where the information will come from if we lose electricity. But I’m still going to hope I never need to turn it on and hope for the next few months the coast is clear.