Officials May Adopt Four-Day Work Week to Reduce Traffic | State policy


Four-day, 10-hour-a-day work weeks for state employees and other measures are being considered to reduce traffic as Interstate 10 widens in Baton Rouge, key officials said. the state.

“We just want to reduce the amount of traffic coming and going during the construction window,” said Shawn Wilson, secretary of the State Department of Transportation and Development.

Staggered shifts and working from home one day a week are other options being explored, officials said.

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The widening of I-10 includes the addition of a new lane in both directions between La. 415 and the I-10/12 split, the replacement of the bridge over Lake City Park and the redevelopment of the exit at College Drive for westbound motorists.

Nearly 154,000 motorists use the bridge over Lake City Park daily.

Even without a construction plan, I-10 is the site for daily backups, especially during daily morning and evening commutes.

The busy section will be reduced from three lanes to two for months at a time, so finding ways to reduce the number of cars and trucks is a priority.

Wilson said that a 20% reduction in traffic would reduce traffic by 15,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day.

Arches and pelicans will be the themes of the new bridge on Interstate 10 crossing City Park Lake, state officials said Monday.

“If we reduce the workforce by 20% in the state government five days a week, you will have full coverage of state services and the benefit of reduced traffic,” did he declare.

Up to 8,000 state employees who work in the city center could be affected by the traffic measures.

Exactly which state agencies would be affected and how this is not clear.

Details of working hours would be left with individual offices.

The employees of the city-parish could also face changes in their work routines.

The traffic problems that plague the Baton Rouge area at the best of times have worsened since Hurricane Ida, officials said on Tuesday.

“City-Parish is working closely with the Capital Region Planning Commission and the DOTD on the interstate enlargement project,” said Mark Armstrong, spokesperson for Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, in a mail response electronic questions.

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“Many of the Parish City departments currently allow flexible working hours and we will continue to explore options as we get closer to the project,” Armstrong said.

About 1,000 Ville-Paroisse employees work in the city center.

Widening works could begin at the end of 2023, with the heaviest impact on traffic lasting 12 to 14 months.

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Private employees who work downtown could also be affected by the relocations.

“We would like everyone to participate in this congestion reduction effort so that we can provide some benefit to the public,” Wilson said.

Administration Commissioner Jay Dardenne addressed the issue during a presentation to the Louisiana Board of Regents on September 21.

Dardenne said his office had previously committed to DOTD – the state’s Department of Transportation and Development – that it would consider staggered four-day work weeks to reduce traffic.

“Basically the numbers are staggering in terms of the money and time it saves if we can reduce the flow of traffic on the highway,” Dardenne told the Regents.

He said the creation of a new temporary lane instead of two “has an impact of several million dollars.”

Jacques Berry, spokesperson for Dardenne, stressed that no final decision had been taken.

Wilson said four-day work weeks are not uncommon at DOTD.

Other ideas under consideration include asking LSU to change class schedules to reduce traffic; redirect some eastbound traffic entering Baton Rouge to US 190 rather than I-10 and set up park and ride stations for westbound commuters to Baton Rouge from Parish of Ascension.

Officials said one of the benefits of the possible changes is the fact that work schedules have fluctuated over the past 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many government employees spend only a few days a week in offices.

“That’s the benefit of this exercise with COVID,” Wilson said.

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