A bill that would require 18-wheelers to be in the right hand lane while traveling through Baton Rouge from 4 to 7 PM weekdays passed the House Transportation Committee. If approved, the rules would apply to 30 miles worth of Interstates 10, 12 and 110 in East Baton Rouge Parish. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter says his bill would solve a problem that needs to be fixed before it gets worse.
"I'll bring a bill to help solve our traffic problems anytime anywhere. I know the motor vehicle people are here we've talked a little bit, but I'm going to ask them to help solve the problem."
Lobbyist Maria Bowen representing the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, is against the measure. She says even though forcing truck drivers into the right lane may have some benefits, the poor infrastructure in place in Baton Rouge negates any positives. She cited a 2008 study.
"In order for it to work efficiently, interchanges must be spaced more than two miles apart with low ramp volumes. I don't believe we have that anywhere in East Baton Rouge Parish."
Bowen says Interstates were designed to handle heavy transport traffic, not commuters to and from work, which leaves too many drivers and not enough interstates.
"In Louisiana we have begun to use it for commuting rather than for commerce. In a lot of states the interstates tend to bypass major towns."
Carter acknowledged an infrastructure improvement to I-10 from the Mississippi River bridge to the 10/12 split, but is afraid it’s too little too late.
"I don't know whether this would work or not because I know do have some problems with coming off of I-10 into I-12 with the trucks would cross the interstate to get into the right hand lane. I'm willing to try anything."
The bill now moves to the full House.