Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Steel plates force drivers to pump the brakes on LA 1, causing traffic nightmare

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PORT ALLEN - Acting like steel bumps, the criss-cross pattern of metal plates along both lanes of the Intracoastal Canal Bridge heading north to I-10 is slowing drivers down, and backing up traffic for miles.

"When I'm going over it, I'm thinking I need to go slow, I need to go at an angle," frequent commuter Kara Hendrix said. "In the evening it's even worse."

Hendrix crosses the bridge on LA 1 multiple times a day, and the delays are adding an extra 45 minutes to her drive.

On Tuesday, traffic was quiet everywhere else in the region with many people out of town for Mardi Gras. But the northbound lanes of the Intracoastal Canal were as congested as ever. The posted speed limit for the bridge is now 45 miles per hour. In reality, drivers were moving at half that speed.

DOTD is replacing 57 joints to extend the bridge's life with work being done over night.

Two years ago, big trucks were barred from the bridge during a weeks-long repair. Trucks were forced to detour dozens of miles through East Baton Rouge and Ascension Parishes, costing transport companies a lot of money.

This time, the steel plates mean truck can still cross, but one driver isn't sure it's worth the risk. He says one of the plates popped his tire.

"It hit my tire and hit someone else right before that," he said.

The edges of the plates are beveled to help vehicles cross over them according to DOTD.


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