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With a new road tax, officials plan light synchronization

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BATON ROUGE - In East Baton Rouge Parish, traffic lights can turn a typical commute into a headache.

“Acadian and College and all the way down Perkins. It just seems like it takes several cycles especially in peak times,” said one driver, Joel Greeley, who has been stuck at lights on Perkins Road many times before.

Parish officials have been hearing from drivers that it takes too long to cycle through red lights in some of the major corridors of the city. Thanks to the newly minted tax money, the parish is set to do something about it.

“Most cases, people are seeing great enhancement of moving traffic,” said Fred Raiford, Director of Transportation. “Time wise, sometimes people can say it takes me 20 minutes to get from Airline Highway to downtown. You probably could get there in 12 minutes.”

The $40 million plan includes upgrades to both the hardware in the streets and the software at the Advanced Traffic Management center on Harding Boulevard, where traffic signals can be changed at the click of a button.

“When you have these connections you can find out what traffic is doing at each intersection, how fast it's moving, whether there's problems or not,” said Raiford.

With plenty of congestion everywhere, many drivers already know what areas they want addressed, and parish officials have already considered where to start.

“Perkins Road for sure, right in this area,” Greeley added. “I think this is probably the most traveled area.”

“Florida Boulevard is one of them that we want to look at. There's different pieces that are not tied in like they should be. Airline Highway a major corridor that carries a lot of people,” said Raiford. “Perkins Road, we're looking at some of those areas that need to be addressed.”

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