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Lack of signal questioned at deadly intersection

1 year ago March 03, 2014 Mar 3, 2014 Monday, March 03 2014 Monday, March 03, 2014 3:04:38 PM CST in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

BATON ROUGE - Questions are being raised about inaction by the state at a dangerous intersection that has been the scene of numerous crashes.

Sunday night, it happened again. Police said Timothy Lee, 26, died after a wreck at the intersection of Scenic Highway and Thomas Road.

"I'm going to truly truly miss him," Lee's mother, Claudette Lee told News 2.

Business owner Craig Graham said he's documented more than 30 wrecks at the intersection in six years.  WBRZ reported on this months ago, when an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputy crashed into a truck at the same intersection. At the time, the state Department of Transportation and Development was conducting a traffic study at the intersection to see if any changes needed to be made there.

"I think my pleas fell on deaf ears," Graham said. "Sadly, I saw this coming."

Monday, DOTD released this statement:

"We completed a traffic study last year. The study showed this section didn't meet the volume requirements for a signal. However, we are working with the city-parish to sign Thomas Road to direct the traffic to LA 19 so that they can take a right to head south instead of going to US 61 and turning left to go south."

However, drivers who use the intersection believe a light is the only feasible fix.

"One crash is too many," said Kelly Cutrer.

"It needs a red light," said Delbert Perkins.  "It's a lot of traffic during quitting hours. It gets rough here."

As the Lee family gets ready to say their final goodbyes, they intend to press the issue until changes are made at a corner that has caused so much carnage.

"Why haven't they done something about putting a light up? How many lives does it take for families to be hurt by the loss of a family member before they do something about it," Claudette Lee asked.

DOTD completed the traffic study in December. Currently, it is working on sign placement with the city-parish. Once that is determined DOTD will print the signs, but gave no time frame as to when the signs will go up.

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