U-turns on Nelson Road not illegal after all

By Brandon Richards - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – The Lake Charles Police Department said traffic citations they  issued for U-turns on Nelson Road near I-210 were made in error.

It turns out, U-turns at that particular intersection and in that area are not illegal.

"Our initial research was in error and if we're big enough to write citations, we're big enough to admit our error," said Sgt. Mark Kraus of the Lake Charles Police Department (LCPD).

The eastbound ramp of I-210 has been closed to southbound traffic on Nelson Rd. since construction began on the Interstate last summer.

That has caused southbound drivers to find alternate ways of getting onto the ramp.

Most have decided to get on at Lake Street. Others have decided to make a roundabout through the Wal-Mart parking lot. And some have decided to make U-turns on Nelson Rd. before proceeding up the eastbound ramp.

LCPD has issued citations to drivers making those U-turns.

But after checking with other officials, LCPD learned that in fact the U-turns were not illegal.

"It was a mistake in the information we provided yesterday," said Sgt. Kraus. "While it is still very dangerous to make a U-turn at that intersection, in that area, it's not banned by signage or statute, which means the law, then it's not illegal. So in this case, it's just simply not illegal."

Motorists who have been issued citations for the U-turn are urged to contact Lake Charles City Court so prosecutors can rectify the error.

LCPD maintains that while U-turns are not illegal in that area, they are still dangerous.

LCPD is working with state officials to get signage put up in the area that would ban U-turns.

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said it is not sure if or when the I-210 eastbound ramp will be reopened to southbound traffic.

The ramp will remain closed to southbound traffic as long as construction continues on I-210.

Construction is not expected to wrap-up on I-210 for several more months.

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