I would like to add another inexpensive idea for how to improve interstate traffic flow through Baton Rouge to those expressed by my good friend Coleman Brown in a recent (Jan. 25) letter to The Advocate. As chairman of the EBR Parish Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure Committee, Coleman cites several existing plans, proposals, and studies in this regard, none of which I am familiar with and therefore cannot comment on.
It has been my observation when traveling on the interstate system that most traffic slow downs and eventual choke points are created by trucks and trailers jumping from lane to lane in bumper-to-bumper traffic, starting miles ahead of the actual choke point, thereby slowing down all vehicles on the interstate.
Therefore I propose that for a distance of, say, 10 miles past the city limits in all directions of the Baton Rouge interstate system, we eliminate that problem by requiring trucks and trailers to travel in only one traffic lane that is reserved for them and others who prefer to drive at a lower speed. In most instances, that would be the right lane, but in view of all the past design flaws mentioned in Coleman’s letter, the lane redefining would require some creative redesign work, especially across the Mississippi River bridge. Truck and trailer lanes could be defined by wider dividing stripes, or by color dividing stripes, or distinct symbols painted at short distances onto the center of the pavement of said traffic lane, etc.
This would open up all other lanes for passenger cars who comprise an absolute majority of vehicles on the interstate. This majority is much more mobile than trucks and trailers. There would be less stop and go resulting in smoother and faster traffic flow for all passenger cars. The majority could move without stopping and could drive right through Baton Rouge, thereby greatly improving traffic flow. The cost should be minimal compared to other interstate construction costs, and the benefits would be considerable and immediate. This will not fix the whole problem, but it would definitely improve traffic flow immediately.
I am fairly sure that this would fly in the face of some existing codes, ordinances, regulations, and laws, but if we can send a man to the moon, we ought to be able to make this happen.