Civil engineer says there is no perfect solution for Baton Rouge traffic

Civil engineer says there is no perfect solution for Baton Rouge traffic
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A civil engineer with LSU said there is no perfect solution to traffic issues around the Capital region and that simply throwing money around is not going to fix the problem.

"Money doesn't necessarily solve all the problems. We have to look at equity if you will," said Brian Wolshon, a civil engineering professor at LSU.

Speaking at the Baton Rouge Rotary Club's weekly meeting, he said solving the crisis is going to require shared sacrifice.

"It's not just about technical issues, it's not just about economics. There's a lot of social factors also that come in," he said.

For example, some businesses located near the interstate may have to move to allow for road expansion, thereby making drive times better for those on the roads.

And while there are no perfect solutions, he said that often small successes get overlooked.

"The average commuter may not notice 30 or 45 seconds of time savings," he said.

He cites ramp meters as one of those success stories. Ramp meters are essentially stop lights on entrance ramps to the interstate.

"Whenever I bring that project up, you can just see people rolling their eyes, groaning," he said. "I mean, who would think that it is a good idea to put traffic signals on a freeway on-ramp?"

However, in the few years since their installation, the lights appear to be working. For example, Wolshon said they have helped shave about just short of 20 percent off of drive times for commuters during peak hours. For all drivers combined, that means a reduction of about 131,000 hours per year of wasted time.

They have also contributed to a d rop in crashes between Essen and the I-10 loop. Before the installation, there were about 21 crashes per year. Now they average around 6.

"For a $1 million project and for a project that everybody seems to hate and that nobody sees any benefit for, there are tremendous gains that are happening," he said.

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