Officials: Drivers could soon see relief for I-10 traffic woes

Officials: Drivers could soon see relief fro I-10 traffic woes

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Traffic has come a halt over the Mississippi River Bridge at least three times in the last week. When it happens, it sends tempers into overdrive. The state is starting to take note, and you could soon see some results.

If you live in the Baton Rouge Metro area, there's a good chance you have gotten stuck on Interstate 10.

Two weeks ago a deadly crash closed the bridge for several hours and backed up traffic more than 17 miles. But sometimes all it takes is a broken down vehicle or a fender bender.

Local drivers say they will do anything they can to dodge it the Mississippi River Bridge during peak drive times.

"Oh, it's horrible," Linette Williams said.

"I don't go over it during either rush hour if I can possibly avoid it," Marty Golden said.

"Usually I go the long way, and it's still horrible," Maya Williams said.

Rodney Mallet with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said the state has made some progress thanks to the addition of traffic cameras along the interstate, a Traffic Management Center, and the Motorist Assistance Patrol (MAP) vehicles that cruise the interstate looking for backups.

"In 2007 it used to take an average of 42 minutes to clear up an accident, now it's down to 24 minutes," Mallet said. "What we have done is extend our MAP service to go into West Baton Rouge Parish to help move folks off the road as quickly as possible."

The DOTD, this spring, is putting additional message boards in West Baton Rouge that will tell drivers stuck in traffic how long it will take them to get over the new Mississippi River Bridge as opposed to the old one so that they can decide which route to take.

"We are going to try to spread it out a little more. We've synchronized the lights on Louisiana Highway 1, to get people who want to use the old bridge from Intracoastal Waterway a little quicker," Mallet said.

With an estimated 100,000 vehicles traveling over the Mississippi River Bridge each day, Mallet believes encouraging drivers to take advantage of other options could, in the short term, make for a smoother commute.

The state is currently doing a study that evaluates traffic from La Highway 415 to the I-10/I-12 split. It will be complete in the spring of 2016.

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