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BATON ROUGE, La. – The first “continuous-flow” intersection, or CFI, in Louisiana and only the second one in the nation opened here today on Airline Highway at its intersection with Sherwood Forest Boulevard and Siegen Lane.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the event was held at 11 a.m. today (Tuesday, March 21) by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and East Baton Rouge City-Parish government.
“We’re thrilled to have Louisiana become a trend-setter with this cutting-edge traffic design,” said DOTD Deputy Secretary Cedric Grant.
Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden said, “The increased traffic problems in our parish call for innovative solutions that take us beyond the ‘status quo’ thought process. This design positions us as leaders on the state, national and international levels in highway technology.”
DOTD project engineer Phil Graves said drivers on Airline can expect a significant improvement in the time it takes to cross the intersection with the completion of the $4.4 million project, designed by ABMB Engineers and built by Coastal Bridge.
Mike Bruce, a principal at ABMB, agreed. He said the average delay for each car crossing the intersection during pre-Hurricane Katrina evening rush-hour traffic was 225 seconds, or about 4 minutes. With the opening of the CFI turn lanes, the time elapsed is estimated to be 30 seconds per car – an improvement of almost 90 percent, Bruce said.
The CFI relieves congestion at the intersection by removing the left-turn conflict from the intersection. Instead, motorists making left-hand turns from Airline are routed to a left-turn bay, and the turn is completed using a two-step process:
· Motorists on Airline who want to turn left are routed into a left-turn bay several hundred feet before from the main intersection. When the Sherwood-Siegen cross-traffic light turns green, so does the left-turn bay light, bringing Airline motorists who were in the left-turn bay forward to a second signal.
· Then when Sherwood-Siegen cross-traffic stops on red and Airline through-traffic has a green signal, motorists on Airline complete the left turn onto Sherwood or Siegen.
The CFI here in Baton Rouge is only the second such intersection in the United States – with the other one outside of Washington, D.C., in Maryland. More than 40 such intersections have been built in Mexico, Bruce said.