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State police patrol N.O. bridges while transition under way

The Crescent City Connection is seen from the air looking toward downtown New Orleans. The Louisiana State Police are assuming control of patrols on the connection, some say as a hedge against the possibility that tolls will expire.

The Associated Press

11/13/2012

NEW ORLEANS — Motorists traveling the Crescent City Connection and connecting 13-mile corridor this week will notice State Police along the highway.

The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/XynQ6e) the troopers will stand in for Crescent City Connection police who are in training as law enforcement begins a transition to the Department of Public Safety and management by State Police.

The move is part of a number of changes prompted by the possible expiration of tolls that fund the agency that operates the two spans crossing the Mississippi River.

Although the outcome of last week's referendum on whether tolls should be continued for 20 years is in question, state Transportation Secretary Sherri LeBas announced last summer that oversight of the bridges would undergo an overhaul, including transferring management of the police department to State Police.

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Officers from Kenner-based Troop B will patrol the bridges and the elevated expressway through the weekend.

A decision on the outcome of the Nov. 6 referendum, voted on by residents in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes, is expected Tuesday when Orleans elections officials count about 30 military and provisional ballots. Unofficial results show an eight-vote margin in favor of continuing the tolls.

East bank-bound drivers pay 40 cents with a toll tag and $1 cash.

The tolls, which are set to expire in December, generate $21 million annually for bridge operations.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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