BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An intersection that has seen its share of wrecks has a different look this week, but not all drivers are convinced it's for the better.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) implemented the final phase of the reconfiguration on Monday of the intersection at Burbank Drive and East Boyd Drive in Baton Rouge. Traffic signals now blink yellow for vehicles on Burbank and red for vehicles on East Boyd. Left turns are no longer allowed from East Boyd onto Burbank, but they're still permitted from Burbank onto East Boyd. Stop signs were also installed on East Boyd.
Before the changes, vehicles attempting to turn left caused the majority of accidents, especially when turning from East Boyd onto Burbank. The most obvious problem on Wednesday was drivers coming to a stop at the flashing yellow light on Burbank, instead of "proceeding with caution" as the law states. Some drivers were seen aggressively going around those who stopped.
"From my perspective, it's very confusing, because I'm not sure if it's a four-way stop or one side's got the red blinking light, one side's got the yellow blinking light," Chris Eddy said after passing through the intersection. "So, as you come up, you're really not sure what's happening, but I think it's going to cause gridlock."
"My daughter lives right down here on East Boyd and we come this direction all the time and we've never had a problem, especially since they put the turn lanes in," Eddy added.
The turn lanes are for drivers turning left from Burbank onto East Boyd. They were put in during another phase of the same project and were also installed at the two intersections just feet away from East Boyd, at Jennifer Jean Drive and West Parker Boulevard.
"If you come down Jennifer Jean, you can turn left on Burbank and if you come down West Parker, you can turn left on Burbank," said Rodney Mallett, a spokesman for DOTD. "Both of those are going to have signalized turns, so that makes it safer and also, the distance between the signals is going to be far enough where it will help the congestion in that area."
Drivers said those who don't know what to do at a flashing yellow light actually make the intersection more dangerous.
"Everybody stopping for that one person turning left on a stop sign and I'm coming through there … Oh God, watch out," said Mark Kenney. "Most people, I guess, don't realize that a blinking yellow light means caution. I guess you could slow down, but don't stop."
The problem could be solved when the light signals themselves are removed in early August. Mallett said the removal of the signals will be the final step if this transition phase goes smoothly.
"People, in general, don't like change, as you probably well know, especially if you're set in how you drive your daily route, but we do feel this will be safer, especially with the left turns and the distance between the lights is going to help traffic flow in this area," Mallett added.
Police were called to a t-bone accident at the intersection of Burbank and East Boyd on Wednesday around 7:45 p.m. While it's not exactly clear how the accident happened, it did not appear that the blinking lights made the intersection any safer. No major injuries were reported.