BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Officials are working on creating new corridors for drivers to get around the city during the I-10 widening project.
The I-10 widening project will have the interstate expanding to four lanes each way from the Mississippi River Bridge to the 10-12 split.
However, many drivers are left wondering how they will get around the upcoming lane closures that will happen late next year due to the I-10 widening project.
According to one resident, Tonya Jones, “traffic in Baton Rouge is probably the worst.”
“We need something to stop all of this congestion that’s going on daily,” says Jones.
The TomTom annual traffic index report shows that Baton Rouge ranks fourth in the nation for the worst traffic.
In 2021, Tom Tom stated that congestion levels throughout the city increased. On average, travel time went up by four minutes. Baton Rouge’s congestion level in 2021 was marked at 27 percent. A 27 percent congestion level means that on average, a normally 30-minute drive in free-flow conditions would take about eight additional minutes.
The EBR Director of Transportation and Drainage, Fred Raiford has a plan that involves 15 corridors, including Perkins Road, Burbank Drive and Airline Highway.
Courtesy from East Baton Rouge City-Parish Officials
This plan is currently being funded through the MovEBR Initiative.
“They use the interstate like a local road,” says Raiford adding “We need to be prepared.” Raiford discusses how the I-10 widening construction, will cause more drivers to look for shortcuts to get to where they need to be faster.
The goal is to keep traffic moving along those routes by synchronizing traffic lights, camera detection and even adding new school flashers.
“We’ve changed I guess the priority because of the interstate project,” says Raiford, “We wanted to try to make sure we had these corridors ready before a lot of work starts taking place.
According to Raiford, his numbers show that already 90% of the traffic lights have been updated to work with traffic flows.
The mayor’s office is working with other agencies about what time people should travel for work or other options to move around the city.
Raiford suggests “waking up earlier” to beat the traffic or using options like CATS or CommunterKrewe.
“The least amount of cars on the interstate, or any roadway,” says Raiford, the better of movement of traffic it’s going to be.”
Raiford says he wants these corridors tested and opened by the end of the year.
“From a structural standpoint,” says Raiford, ” they’ll be able to handle for the next 50 years.”
According to Lousiana DOTD, construction is scheduled to begin in 2023 and is estimated to be completed in 2028.