Construction crews capitalize on lighter traffic to accelerate Baton Rouge area road projects

Stay-at-home orders helping DOTD get more road work done

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - While just about everything has ground to a halt amid the coronavirus outbreak, some road work is actually speeding ahead.

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson says it is a good thing for their construction crews.

“Absolutely, it’s a good thing for us for a number of reasons,” Wilson said.

With fewer cars on the highway, projects like the road diet on Government Street, the widening along I-10 at Highland and even the resurfacing work on Perkins are coming along nicely.

“We’re hearing contractors say that they’re getting anywhere from 10 to 20 percent more productivity out of the workers on those jobs,” said Wilson.

The flashing lights and traffic cones are everywhere as crews capitalize on the stay-at-home order coupled with the nice weather lately to get some work done. Dr. Wilson says it is great news for the nearly 300 projects going on across Louisiana.

“This has allowed them to accelerate their activity and perhaps get back on schedule and maybe get ahead of schedule in terms of their completion date,” said Wilson.

Fred Raiford, director of EBR Transportation and Drainage, says his crews are also seeing the benefit. He says less traffic means a safer workplace for those essential employees.

“That certainly has helped us,” said Raiford. “We’ve been able to do a lot more without having to worry about the safety or welfare of our employees dealing with traffic.”

Another benefit is timing. Most of those projects that had to be worked around peak traffic times can now be tackled during the day.

“Things that were being done at night may have moved to the daytime in some cases so we’re seeing some really good productivity and progress being made on infrastructure projects,” Wilson said.

By doing their part and staying at home, chances are drivers will see better roads when they eventually venture out.

“They’ll be much further along,” said Wilson. “I can’t promise you that every mile and every road is going to be better when this is over but we are allowing ourselves to continue to make progress.”

It is progress that will hopefully pay off when more folks are able to finally get back behind the wheel.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.