WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Starting Monday, new rules will go into place along LA 1 in West Baton Rouge aimed at cutting back on congestion and keeping traffic flowing.
Under the new rules, drivers will no longer be able to go north on the access road along LA 1 from Beaulieu Lane to the Walmart during rush hour in the morning and evening. The goal is to reduce the number of people who use the access road to cut around traffic, because when they attempt to merge back on to LA 1, it backs up traffic even more.
Law enforcement officers will also be manually operating the stop light near the Walmart. The new regulations will be in place from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., according to the president of West Baton Rouge Parish, Riley L. Berthelot.
"The traffic will flow, rather than be stop and go stop and go. If people are just moving, they'll feel better about it and feel like they're actually getting somewhere," said Joey Normand, mayor of the Town of Brusly.
The new rules are in response to the growing traffic problems in West Baton Rouge. Sometimes during rush hour, the back-up on LA 1 heading toward the bridge can stretch for miles.
"I try to avoid Baton Rouge now like the plague because of the traffic," said driver John Voisin.
"You have to leave an hour early to go 10 miles for an appointment," said Laurie Brown from Brusly.
The traffic has only gotten worse since the flood, according to residents. Many impacted by the flood evacuated to the drier, west side of the Mississippi River.
"It has changed everyone's lives over here. Their lives are controlled by traffic," Normand said, noting that congestion has been getting worse in recent years, even before the flood.
Although residents support efforts to cut back on traffic, residents are giving the plan mixed reviews. Some believe leaders should do more.
"People are still going to cut in front of everybody," Brown said.
"Try something, see if it works. At least if it don't, can't say you didn't try," said Jeremy Shauff from Grosse Tete.
"It's just a little band-aid over a bullet wound," Voisin said.
Voisin said he believes that regardless of what leaders try to do, there is still going to be a backlog because of the holdups on the bridge and on the East Baton Rouge side. He believes a project is needed, such as the loop or a new bridge. Normand agrees, saying this is not a perfect solution.
"Until we have a unanimous opinion in our elected officials and the public and we actually go get revenue for a project, this is not going to change," he said.
Off-duty sheriff deputies may be brought in to oversee the implementation of the new rules. The parish president said they will be paid overtime.