Tuesday's traffic fiasco will be commonplace once widening project begins
BATON ROUGE - An unusually bad line of traffic stretched all the way from the new bridge to the Airline Highway exit on I-12 Tuesday.
Complete gridlock was caused by a wreck on the bridge.
The persistent problem has led DOTD to invest in widening most of the interstate from two to four lanes near the bridge starting in 2024, but in order to construct that, lanes will have to be closed first.
The move will likely make Tuesday's traffic nightmare into a regular occurrence.
"Well the traffic is in general going to be worse, yes. We're going to reduce the number of lanes in each direction, but in doing so, we've also reduced the amount of time by four year and the cost by $50 million," DOTD communication director Rodney Mallett said.
DOTD is working on a plan to make the lane restrictions manageable, particularly when it comes to wrecks.
"We're going to have 24-hour map service with tow trucks. We're working closely with ambulance services, other emergency response operations, law enforcement, fire departments, to see how we can best address that."
Mallet says they will also work with businesses to change employee hours, or get them to work from home to reduce the amount of cars on the interstate.
But it begs the question-why aren't these traffic mitigation measures in place at all times?
"It costs. And we don't have crashes every day, contrary to popular belief, so we'd be paying for map patrol out there 24-hours a day."
Mallet says it will all be worth it in the end.
"Let's not lose sight of the big picture. That's for one year, maybe 14 months. In four years, we're going to have four lanes through Baton Rouge."
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