09 September 2011

That's Louisiana for you, folks!

State to restripe I-10 bridge exit (source: The Advocate)

For the longest time, I-10's Exit 153 (LA 1) westbound was striped as a right lane exit-only, center lane exit-optional setup. And it worked well enough.

So apparently someone at DoTD had the bright idea to get rid of the middle-lane optional and force all exiting traffic to use the right lane. (My guess is that they got stuck in the middle lane in rush hour.) And it SUCKED for exiting traffic.

Now they're changing it back to right lane exit-only, middle lane exit optional.

Moral of the story? Don't mess with a good thing if you have no idea what the hell you're doing.

This is problematic, though. All along, it should have been four lanes - two for westbound I-10 to continue on, two for exiting onto LA 1. No optional lane. Room enough for breakdown lanes, too. The problem is, we've only built to current capacity at the time an upgrade or new construction effort began, and at the time, three travel lanes and no shoulders seemed to be enough. With a surface route or a short bridge, that's less of an issue, but something the scale of the Horace Wilkerson Bridge? I think it should have been four lanes plus full shoulders each way all along, even if one of those lanes went unused for several years.

Now we can't. The bridge is too important to Baton Rouge's traffic flow. The only solution is going to require an upgrade. Perhaps it's time to start looking into realigning I-10.

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