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Crash data shows spike in crashes at Highland/Terrace intersection after new design

1 month 4 days 15 hours ago Friday, May 10 2024 May 10, 2024 May 10, 2024 5:46 PM May 10, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A project to make an intersection safer appears to be backfiring as crash data shows accidents appear to occur more frequently at the corner of Highland Road and Terrace Street.

The new configuration forces drivers coming off of the Mississippi River Bridge from I-10 East to merge with traffic going southbound on Highland Road, or veer right to Oklahoma Street. Drivers on the exit ramp are supposed to abide by a yield sign, while the drivers on Highland have a traffic signal. 

Plans also called for a raised median to be installed between the lanes of Highland southbound and the I-10 exit ramp. The median cuts off access to Terrace Street for drivers coming from the interstate. 

Leonard Jones has been watching the traffic from his place of work, Highland Terrace Automotive, for months. He says the new design is confusing and leads to several accidents per week because of drivers making illegal U-turns and cutting through his parking lot. 

"Wednesday we had two wrecks. One earlier that morning around lunch, and then around 3:30, four o'clock we had another one. And both of them were pretty bad," Jones said.

Data from the Baton Rouge Police Department shows an increase in the amount of crashes so far this year, compared to previous years before the road was changed from a typical 4-way intersection. 

In 2022, BRPD recorded eight accidents at the intersection of Highland and Terrace with four injuries. Crash data from 2023 shows 15 accidents and three injuries for the entire year. 

This year, up until April 12, there have been eight crashes so far and one injury. That is not including accidents after that date. 

One key observation, the accidents in 2022 and 2023, had varying causes. The listed cause for all accidents in 2024 are "driver error," and all of the crashes have resulted in a ticket being issued. 

If the trend continues, those numbers could easily surpass the years before. Jones hopes to see more signage at the intersection to prohibit U-turns, and more enforcement from police.

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