Ask The Advocate: A modest proposal for I-10 snarls

A reader has some suggestions to ease the Interstate 10 westbound traffic crossing the Mississippi River.

1. Close the Washington Exit.

2. Close the on ramp from South 10th Street.

3. Reduce I-110 South to one lane along the inside rail.

4. Increase I-10 East to two lanes from the one lane being used now.

“Although this would create some traffic problems for I-110 South, at least those drivers can use city streets to get around any backups. The people using I-10 West don’t have any options other than to sit in traffic.

“I would guess the number of cars on I-10 West outnumber the cars on I-110 South at least by two to one. If this number is even close to being correct, it would make perfect sense to make the changes listed above.”

Response from Lauren Lee, public information officer for the state Department of Transportation and Development:

1 & 2 (close ramps): The state would have to provide data to and get approval from the Federal Highway Authority before making any modifications to interstate interchanges. Closing these ramps will not make a big difference in reducing congestion, and we are not seeing large numbers of crashes at these ramps.

3 (reduce I-110 South to one lane): Our analysis shows that if I-110 South were reduced to one lane, traffic would back up to the airport.

4 (increase I-10 East to two lanes): This would require reducing I-110 South to one lane, causing delays elsewhere.

Finally, traffic counts are not provided for one direction only, but include the entire route in both directions. The average daily traffic count for I-10 near the Mississippi River bridge is 135,653. The count for I-110 near the bridge is 78,381. There is a constant flow on I-10 throughout the day, whereas much of the I-110 traffic consists of commuters during morning and evening rush hours. According to our traffic engineering division, during peak travel times, traffic volumes on each route are close to equal.

Send questions to Ask The Advocate, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0588; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.