Baton Rouge’s notorious traffic congestion is about to get worse, as work begins on widening Interstate 10 through the heart of the city.
The project involves a new lane in both directions between La. 415 and the Interstate 10-12 split, replacing the bridge over the City Park Lake and revamping the exit at College Drive for westbound motorists.
The work will ultimately reduce congestion, but between now and then things will be painful.
The already congested stretch of roadway will be crimped from three lanes to two for months at a time.
To help out, the state is looking for ways to reduce the impact of its workforce — about 8,000 work in downtown Baton Rouge — on roadways during peak traffic times.
That’s smart thinking, and there are some worthwhile options to consider, including staggered schedules and allowing some employees to work from home on some days. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that in some cases, working from home does not damage efficiency.
One idea that should make taxpayers skeptical is four-day workweeks. Schedules could be staggered to keep offices open five days a week, of course. But it is hard to see how a workforce can be efficient if 20% of employees, including supervisors and folks with specialized skills, are off the job every day.
The congestion will be inconvenient. But businesses and citizens who depend on state government should be able to access civil servants and get answers promptly five days a week.