- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) - The state is preparing to install a high-tech message sign on Louisiana Highway 1 to give motorists an idea of how long they can expect to sit in traffic. But West Baton Rouge Parish officials are saying skip the sign and improve the road to make traffic flow more smoothly.

Parish Councilman Barry Hugghins tells The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1O04nUk) the sign that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development wants to put up on the busy road is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“This is a good example of how dysfunctional DOTD is,” Hugghins grumbled. “Waste money to tell people how bad their misery is - I think they already know. I see this more as a sign of desperation that they don’t know what else to do.”

The travel time message sign’s installation, which will be near the Intracoastal Waterway bridge in Port Allen, is part of a $3.4 million project that includes five additional “dynamic message” signs to be installed throughout the Baton Rouge region, said DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallett.

Dynamic message signs provide more-detailed, real-time traffic information to drivers about things such as traffic accidents, detour routes and road conditions while the travel-time sign gives estimated commute times between specific locations.

The overall project also includes installation of Bluetooth tracking sensors and cameras along major corridors in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, Iberville, West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee parishes.

The La. 1 travel time sign is costing taxpayers $64,000, Mallett said, and DOTD hopes to have all the signs functional by spring, including the dynamic message signs being installed elsewhere.

“The network of signs is an important technological breakthrough and is an advancement of the ‘Intelligent Transportation System’ that provides travelers across the state with a lot of valuable information,” Mallett said in an email.

The La. 1 sign will provide travel times from the sign’s location to the Interstate 110, U.S. 61 and U.S. 190 interchange. Mallett says its purpose is to herd drivers using La. 1 to get to the northern parts of Baton Rouge toward the old Mississippi River Bridge along U.S. 190.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com


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