Work to improve traffic congestion on Essen Lane - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Work to improve traffic congestion on Essen Lane

Phase 1 (Source: DOTD) Phase 1 (Source: DOTD)
Phase 2 (Source: DOTD) Phase 2 (Source: DOTD)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Growth has put tons of traffic on Essen Lane over the years. Some people say driving in the area has been a problem since the 1990's.

Thursday, city leaders cut the ribbon on the first phase of work being done to improve traffic flow in the area.

Phase one of the Essen Lane Green Light Project added turn lanes at the I-10 ramps. William Daniel, the city's chief administrative officer, says that section is one that was identified as where traffic was choking the most.

Essen Lane is heavily traveled. According to the city 55,000 vehicles use it everyday. Whether it be residential traffic, people on their way to the medical facilities in the area or those visiting the businesses on the stretch.

Phase two will six-lane the road, with a continuous center turn lane.

The City of Baton Rouge and DOTD are sharing portions of the work.

Our Lady of the Lake hospital is also said to be building a new children's hospital in the area, which could add to the traffic.

"We're actually building a road to connect Essen and Bluebonnet. So that's going to help too," said Daniel.

Mayor Kip Holden says the funding is already secured for that.

Local health leaders have also started what's being called a health district. They will be more connected with health services. In the process of discussing the health district, traffic was one of their concerns. What they concluded is a plan for new streets and improvement to others to help with circulating cars through the area.

"Some of what you're seeing with these announcements of new streets and future streets is a direct result of people saying we need other corridors other than Essen, Perkins and Bluebonnet," said John Spain, with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

All the work on Essen Lane is expected to be complete in the spring of 2018.

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