No Contraflow

By Evan Johnson - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was after Hurricane Rita's evacuation in 2005 when the Department of Transportation and Development came up with a plan where all lanes of highway traffic would run in the same direction. That plan, known as contraflow, was designed so residents can get out of harm's way quickly, but nearly fours years after its inception contraflow is no more for the city of Lake Charles.

Steve Jiles with the Louisiana DOTD says, "We don't really think we have too many capacity issues. We've doubled outbound capacity in Lake Charles.  We have four lanes on Highway 171 where we had two, we have four on Highway 165, and then we have the six on the interstate so we think it could flow normally."

While the DOTD feels one way about the plan, motorists feel the opposite.

Lake Charles resident Barry Thomas says, "I wouldn't say get rid of it, but I'd say it really needs to be looked at and maybe critiqued and see what can happen to make it a little bit more efficient."

Stafford Pardue, also a Lake Charles resident, says, "I think they should keep it simply because of the fact that you get too many people over here and they need to get out.  They have to have a way to get out and two lanes just won't cut it."

Tina Coffman, a Sulphur resident, says, "We've evacuated for all of the storms that have come because of medical reasons and it was a nightmare getting out of town.  Every time the traffic was just so slow so we definitely need to keep the contraflow to keep the traffic moving smoothly and as quickly as we can to get people out."

The Department of Transportation and Development admits there will be some delays on the roadway if an evacuation is called, however they believe it will be minimal compared to the experiences of Hurricane Rita.