Westlake traffic causing headaches for residents - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Westlake traffic causing headaches for residents

(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)
WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) -

In a town with a population of approximately 5,000 people, the City of Westlake is bursting at the seams as plant employees head into work.

"All this out here has changed our way of life," explained Mayor Bob Hardy. "The people of Westlake have been affected by this, you can tell this is not normal."

One Westlake resident, Ruthie Jones, said it can take her up to 30 minutes to drive half a mile down the street.

"I can hardly get out of my driveway without begging someone, please let me out."

Between 5 and 6 a.m., headlights from plant workers fill the dark roads.

For the next 12 hours, Houston River Road clears, but utter mayhem ensues when the workday is over.

For a city once teetering on bankruptcy, the extra traffic isn't helping.

"5,000 people fill up our town and we get no tax or revenue off of this," Mayor Hardy said.

But the city is using its resources to continue to keep the city safe.

"Our police officers are having to do a lot more than normal,” Mayor Hardy said. “It's five miles, they're covering five miles, five thousand cars in a day, it’s unbelievable."

Police Chief Chris Wilrye said, "We’ve had issues with drivers driving in turning lanes, trying to get off, driving through people's yards, speeding, making it unsafe for citizens here."

As industry in Westlake grows, so will traffic problems but plant managers are looking to help.

One plant tried to alleviate the problem by staggering time, some workers go in at 6:30 a.m. and some at 7 a.m.

It's helping move traffic but it's still not enough to get people where they need to go in a timely manner.

Copyright KPLC 2017. All rights reserved.

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