January 12, 2023 7:38 PM in News
By: Falon Brown
BATON ROUGE – The room was packed Thursday afternoon at the Crowne Plaza, full of people who are curious as to what the next few years will look like on the roads across the capital city.
“While construction is supposed to start in 2023, the actual lane closures really don’t take place until sometime in 2024. We still have to be prepared to address that, and that’s what the steps we’re doing from the city is trying to address those future concerns,” said Fred Raiford, director of transportation and drainage for the City of Baton Rouge.
Raiford laid out the city’s plans for traffic mitigation to an audience of about 100 people. When thousands of drivers are inevitably forced to take surface streets instead of the interstate, he says the city’s traffic signals will be synchronized and ready for the rush.
“When they get on the interstate, and they’re not moving or some issue has taken place, they’re going to look for other avenues. That’s why we looked at these corridors,” Raiford said.
Specifically, the city is focusing on 15 major corridors, including Airline Highway, Florida Boulevard and Jefferson Highway. Raiford says traffic signals along those 15 corridors will be upgraded before the end of this year.
Once the traffic lights are synchronized with fiber optic cables, they will be connected to a real-time traffic management system. In the event of a malfunction, the lights can be fixed remotely by operators.
“That’s what all the other major cities are doing. They’re making those changes within the site itself, and it can be done a lot faster, a lot quicker,” Raiford said.
The goal is not only to help traffic flow more smoothly, but also to establish consistent commute times for drivers.