DOTD exploring new options to prevent drivers from going through floodwaters

DOTD exploring options to keep drivers from going through flooded roads

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s the same 'ole story every time Baton Rouge receives heavy rains: certain areas around the city begin to flood and drivers become stranded in the high waters.

The areas most susceptible to flooding are well known, yet drivers still think they can make it through. Typically, barriers are placed to prevent traffic from going through, but that doesn’t always work.

“Sometimes, people go around the barricade, all the time,” one Baton Rouge driver said. “So I think a gate would be more appropriate.”

Rodney Mallett with DOTD says the department is exploring the possibility of installing something more permanent, like gates at railroad crossings, only in areas that are known to receive high water.

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” Mallett said. “It’s not just a matter of going to buy a gate that you can open and close. We have to make sure it fits, it works, that it’s safe, but even if that’s the case, people drive around the railroad crossings.”

Fred Raiford with Baton Rouge’s Transportation and Drainage Department says the biggest trouble spots, where you see the deepest water, are under DOTD’s control and believes the other areas around town can be blocked with barricades.

“The barricades are effective,” Raiford said. “You know, people are going to do what people are going to do when they’re driving, but I think number one, when we’re out there. We shut the streets off. Normally, they find other ways to get around and that’s one of the goals and objectives we try to do, try to have objectives. We try to have locations where they have access to where they can get to point A to point B and that’s what we try to do.”

At the end of the day, these measures will only go so far though, Mallett says.

“How many people have we seen try to make it through Acadian when we know that the water is high at Acadian?” he asked. “We have people drive across barricades, I mean, drive around barricades and those barricades are up for a reason and that’s just not a smart thing to do.”

He says DOTD is working on a plan that would fix the flooding issues at the Acadian underpass. He says it would raise the road considerably to minimize the pooling of water. He did not give a timeline on when that project would begin or when the gates or any other measures to prevent drivers from going through flooded areas would be installed.

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