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State plans to build barricade under Siegen Lane overpass to ward off drug activity, panhandling

7 months 6 days 17 hours ago Monday, July 24 2023 Jul 24, 2023 July 24, 2023 4:39 PM July 24, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Mounds of trash, discarded cardboard signs and a mattress are just some of the items that can be found underneath the I-10 overpass on Siegen Lane. 

"It is the Siegen Hell hole. And we call it that because that's where the addicts go underneath the bridge right there in between those two walls," Jennifer Richardson, founder of litter clean-up group Keep Tiger Town Beautiful, said.

Panhandling and litter in the area is forcing the state to take action.

At first, signs were placed along the roadway to discourage drivers from giving money to panhandlers. Now, DOTD says they are going to place metal fencing around the problematic underpass area.

"Out of an abundance of caution and for safety measures, we're going to put a metal grate over the top," Rodney Mallett, spokesperson for DOTD, said. "The pedestrian traffic... that's the main reason [for the grate] because it's a safety concern."

Richardson is ecstatic that the issue is being addressed by the state. 

"I couldn't be happier. If we didn't clean this out once a week, it would look like Mt. Everest coming out of that hole over there. It's so filthy," Richardson said.

In March, Keep Tiger Town Beautiful volunteers discovered a stash of hospital-grade pharmaceuticals underneath the overpass. Monday, Richardson said she picked up dozens of used needles. 

Monday afternoon, a WBRZ photographer was attacked by a man who had been asking for money on the side of Siegen Lane. No employees were harmed and the man left shortly after the altercation. 

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