DOTD adds MAP drivers for Cove Lane interchange project

MAP drivers added for Cove Lane interchange

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Driving through a construction zone is bad enough, but when a vehicle breaks down, it can turn a minor inconvenience into a major headache.

Department of Transportation and Development officials are trying make sure that drivers don't experience the added stress for the new construction zone on Cove Lane.

The Cove Lane interchange project began last month and the DOTD is adding extra help for stranded motorists, with motorist assistance patrols, or MAP, and Todd Landry explains why the decision was made.

"The reason we're adding map on this project is because of the sequence of construction on the project. The shoulders are no longer going to be used as relief," he said.

DOTD officials say for every minute a disabled vehicle blocks traffic, it causes a four-minute delay for other motorists and Landry believes the MAP program will shorten delays.

"We need to have a mechanism to get people off of the road if they become stranded on the road and as I said, they won't be able to use that shoulder as a relief area and so it's important to keep traffic moving and this is one way that we can get a stranded motorist off the road," he said.

"We've had a few runs, we've had some flat tires we've changed. a few people that needed some help and so we've done a little bit of assistance today," said Michael Champion, one of the new MAP drivers.

But Champion expects the number of people they help will only increase as the project continues.

"We expect it to be a lot more congested as they start closing down lanes and we're looking to have a lot more business coming our way," he said.

The additional motor assistance patrol runs seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The Cove Lane interchange is expected to be completed in late 2014.

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