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Drivers using mechanic shop to make illegal left turns after median installed at I-10 exit ramp

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BATON ROUGE - A project to re-route the I-10 exit ramp from the Mississippi River Bridge to Oklahoma Street is causing confusion and frustration among drivers as they struggle to get accustomed to the changes. 

Weeks ago, crews finished installing a raised median to divide southbound traffic on Highland Road from traffic coming off of I-10 East. The new median prevents drivers from turning left onto Terrace Street from the exit, which is why some have started taking a detour into the parking lot of a nearby mechanic shop.

"We're having a lot of turnarounds coming off the bridge. It's very dangerous for the traffic. They don't have no kind of barricades showing them a route to where they go so a lot of people's assuming they can use our parking lot as a U-turn," Leonard Jones, a mechanic at Highland Terrace Automotive, said.

Our WBRZ cameras recorded several drivers cutting through the parking lot in the span of 30 minutes. Jones says throughout the day, he sees hundreds. 

The risky U-turns and detours around the median have already been the cause of some bad accidents. He fears someone will get seriously hurt if something isn't changed about the intersection. 

"It's a death trap. I'm watching every day, praying that somebody doesn't get hurt," Jones said.

The median isn't the only issue about the re-configuration at Highland and Terrace. Jones says the striping is crooked and marks uneven lanes. 

"They have so many different stripes on the road. It really is not directing lines."

On top of those issues, the traffic light for drivers westbound on Terrace St. are hardly visible during the day, and hung too closely to the stop line. 

"If you're coming down Terrace and you stop at the red light, you can't really see the red light turn green. So a lot of people are running the red light because they're already up under the red light," Jones said. 

WBRZ reached out to LaDOTD about the situation. They said they are monitoring the area.


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