Intracoastal Bridge construction means lanes closures, traffic jams
WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Lane closures and traffic jams due to construction on the Intracoastal Bridge could extend the drive time for some commuters.
At 120 feet tall, it’s no easy feat transporting and putting the giant bridge beams in place needed to make the updates. They’re part of the new Intracoastal Southbound Bridge in West Baton Rouge Parish. While bridge construction is underway, DOTD hopes to limit lane closures to nighttime, so crews don’t disrupt people’s drives.
“Now, during the nighttime hours, which is something that construction, along with DOTD, worked out is that they do the lane closures from time to time, down to one lane just so it minimizes the backups,” explains Lt. Ken Albarez who is the traffic supervisor for the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.
However, when crews have to move giant parts like those beams, it can create unavoidable traffic problems, not to mention an inconvenience for a lot of folks who take the interstate during peak drive times.
“We saw that state police was escorting one of those beams, so they had to shut down the southbound traffic for just a few minutes to get it backed in there,” adds Albarez. Since the start of the project, Albarez has being working with DOTD on traffic control.
Thursday morning, state police joined in since transporting those beams slowed down traffic, as they moved through I-10 and over the Mississippi River Bridge. “We ask everyone, always, when they see those blue lights, red or even the yellow construction lights, you know be aware of what’s going on,” says Albarez.
This is just Phase 1 of the $57 million project. The goal is to replace both Intracoastal Bridges to help with the traffic flow on the West side, but it’s going to take some time.
“People have to remember it doesn’t happen overnight, widening roads, but they are definitely needed. I can tell you, I travel La 1 South of here on a daily basis, and it really needed some love and tender care,” explains Albarez.
West Baton Rouge deputies will assist DOTD during those night closures. Crews would typically have lanes closed off from 7-6 a.m., but they assured us they will avoid any lane closures during big events like an LSU football game.
The first phase of the Intracoastal Bridge is expected to last until next summer.
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