Measures to remedy traffic flow problems on horizon

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The problem with old cities is that the population and services grow, and the infrastructure does not keep up.

Signs of this can be seen all across the country where bridges collapse under loads they were never meant to carry, electrical grids fail after being overloaded and gridlock on the streets brings commerce to a standstill.

Thankfully, in Bogalusa the current administration has done something to alleviate at least one of the problems that plague the city streets. New plans call for measures to alleviate traffic flow problems, especially in regard to the paper mill.

Were the paper mill a newer addition, it would probably sit on the outskirts of the city, but since Bogalusa grew up around it, it sits at one end of the city’s historic South Columbia Street, near what was once the undisputed center of commerce in the town. And unlike 100 years ago, most of the logs brought to the mill now come off humongous trucks that cannot easily maneuver through most city streets and that currently have no direct outlet to the larger highway system.

To remedy this, the city plans to extend Willis Avenue past South Columbia Street all the way to Louisiana Highway 21. This would keep large trucks from having to traverse Martin Luther King Drive, a thoroughfare that has literally crumbled beneath the weight of these trucks. Then, at the point where Willis meets Highway 21, the city plans to build a traffic circle so that trucks are not left waiting to turn onto the highway for extended periods of time. These measures will surely make life easier for not only the truck drivers but for anyone who has been stuck behind a truck as it waits for a gap large enough to turn onto the highway.

Another plan in the works has nothing to do with the paper mill or the trucks that make deliveries to it, but its effects could be even more dramatic for local residents. Designs call for a restructuring of the intersection of Louisiana and Carolina avenues. Anyone who has driven that way knows that edging forward on Carolina will only help so much, and at some point one must make a leap of faith across Louisiana Avenue, and unfortunately that leads to traffic accidents. Plans call for a drastic restructuring of this intersection that would take all the guesswork out driving there.

Plans such as these will take some time — and cause some inconveniences while they are being completed — but once they are finished, they will enhance the quality of life for all who live and do business here.