July 10, 2012
It’s been two weeks now, and “smooth sailing” is still the word I hear on the radio for the afternoon traffic on I-12 eastbound! What an attitude-changer that makes at the end of the day.
I have been a commuter from Hammond/Ponchatoula to Baton Rouge for the past 20 years, and now that return commute home is much more pleasant, as well as less time-consuming. Though I began to worry (June 11), when I left the office and hit the interstate at Essen, only to find traffic backed up to that point. The west-bound lanes had been opened for the morning traffic rush into Baton Rouge, but the east-bound lanes still had lane painting to be accomplished before they could be opened. Thus, much to my dismay, my arrival home that night was three hours later! That’s just the cost of living where you want and commuting to where you work!
Over the years I have grown accustomed to the lengthy delays getting home in the evenings. While my morning trips into work were a fairly standard 50 minutes (42 miles one way), my return in the evening varied from an hour to upwards of five hours, depending on the traffic situation of the day — i.e. was it a wreck or just “rubbernecking.” But the one thing I always tried to keep in mind was that I was going to make it home eventually, unlike some of the unfortunate souls who were in the wrecks and would never make it home again.
This long-term commute has given me a greater appreciation for the hard work and tireless effort that our state workers in the Department of Transportation and Development undertake on a daily basis. Their continued efforts allow us to travel across the state in a safe and reasonable manner, meeting our work and leisure schedules. We need to better do our part in abiding by the travel cautions and speed limits posted along the roads to help make our travels safer for all.
I would gladly sit in a traffic jam knowing that DOTD is working to resolve the issue that has caused it and that I will be able to safely make it home to see my family again. Thank you to all the DOTD workers, from the administrators that fight for project funding, to the engineers who develop the safest roads for the conditions our environments present, to the field crews who are overseeing contractors or doing the actual road development work, and to all the office assistants that make sure all the required paperwork is accomplished that keeps contractors, vendors and employees paid and continuing on their job. THANK YOU!!!