Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

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The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD)[1] is a state government organization in the United States, in charge of maintaining public transportation, roadways, bridges, canals, select levees, floodplain management, port facilities, commercial vehicles, and aviation which includes 69 airports, in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The agency has approximately five thousand personnel on staff and an operating budget of $2.3 billion. DOTD operations are run through nine district offices across the state.

The current DOTD Secretary is Sherri LeBas, appointed in June 2010 by Governor Bobby Jindal. Other functions of the DOTD are Dams (Dam Safety Program), flood control (Floodplain Management, water resource management (wells), and maintaining state run ferries and moveable bridge status.[2] The Louisiana Transportation Authority (LTA) is also under the DOTD,[3] as well as the DOTD port construction and development.

History[edit]

A Louisiana Highway Department gravel truck driver pauses in front of his orange-colored vehicle (1972).

The Louisiana Highway Commission was established in 1921 under the administration of Governor John M. Parker, who pushed for the establishment of more gravel roads throughout the state. Act 47 of 1940 under Governor Sam Houston Jones reorganized the entire state government; under its provisions, the Department of Highways was designated as the successor to the old Highway Commission, and a director, appointed by the governor, was established as the executive head of the Department. Among the highway directors was Ray W. Burgess (1921–2006) of Baton Rouge, an appointee of Governor Jimmie Davis. Highway workers were originally political appointees but later gained job security under state civil service. Act 47 also created the Department of Public Works and transferred to that department the state’s administrative functions involving flood control, water management, and aeronautics.

The new Louisiana Constitution of 1976 (adopted in 1974) and Act 83 of 1977 abolished the Departments of Highways and Public Works and restructured them into the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), thereby encompassing related activities such as highways, public works, aviation, public transportation, and a number of transportation authorities, committees, boards and commissions. This form of organization continued until 1988 when Act 488 placed all agency functions under one of three offices: the Office of the Secretary, the Office of Engineering and the Office of Management and Finance.

Act 71 of 1998 again reorganized DOTD into its present functional arrangement of the Office of the Secretary and five other offices.

DOTD district offices[edit]

The DOTD has 9 district offices across the state. Each office is run by a "District Engineer Administrator".

District[4] Area (Parishes)[4] Headquarters[4]
02 Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, Terrebonne Bridge City
03 Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Vermillion Lafayette
04 Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, De Soto, Red River, Webster Bossier City
05 East Carroll, Jackson, Lincoln, Morehouse, Madison, Ouachita, Richland, West Carroll, Union Monroe
07 Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis Lake Charles
08 Avoyelles, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon, Winn Alexandria
58 Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin, Le Salle, Tensas Winnsboro
61 Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. James, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana Baton Rouge
62 Livingston, St. Helena, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington Hammond

Public transportation[edit]

The DOTD is in charge of Public Transportation and provides funding to parishes through grants and Louisiana Transit to provide transportation to the elderly, disabled, single working parents, and poor. Sometimes service is provided by transportation companies, or Council on Aging, Office of Community Services, St. Helena Parish Hospital, St. James Parish Government, and in St. Tammany the "East St. Tammany Mental Health Association, Inc."

Grant Parish is the only parish in Louisiana not participating in some form of public transportation.

Roadways[edit]

DOTD has the responsibility of maintaining state highways and interstate highways under state jusrisdiction. This includes the maintenance and updating of existing highways as well as planning, design, and building of new highways.

The Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development or TIMED Program is an ongoing $5 billion program which includes funding to widen over 500 miles (800 km) of Louisiana state highways from two lanes to four.

"TIMED" is also over construction or modifying several bridges including the John James Audubon Bridge, Huey P. Long Bridge and Florida Avenue Bridge.

Traffic cameras[edit]

DOTD operates traffic cameras in eight cities in Louisiana. The links are to clickable delayed live cameras.

  • Baton Rouge[5]
  • Lafayette[6]
  • Lake Charles[7]
  • Hammond/Northshore[8]
  • Houma[9]
  • New Orleans[10]
  • Shreveport/Bossier[11]
  • Monroe/West Monroe [12]

Hurricane evacuation[edit]

A hurricane evacuation route shield in New Orleans, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina

The DOTD has been active in addressing the increased awareness for effective evacuation plans in the event of hurricanes threatening southeast Louisiana, and the Greater New Orleans area in particular. Following lessons learned during Hurricane Georges in 1998 DOTD has constructed contraflow lanes,[13][14][15] crossover lanes, and made agreements with Mississippi officials to implement the contraflow plan in the event of future hurricane threats. This is a plan where all the traffic is directed the same direction and marked with appropriate signs and signals. These plans were tested and modified following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 as residents of the New Orleans area spent upwards of 18 hours in traffic. These changes included strategic distribution of traffic control devices, improved coordination of police personnel and wide distribution of information and maps to the public depicting the state's phased evacuation plan and the various contraflow routes. These changes were tested and proved successful in August 2005 when New Orleans and the surrounding parishes were placed under a mandatory evacuation in advance of Hurricane Katrina.[16]

Current projects[edit]

  • Louisiana Highway 1 - LA 1 has several projects[17] including the construction of a 16-mile (26 km) elevated section to improve truck traffic flow and evacuation of Grand Isle and lower Lafourche Parish.
  • Perkins Road Widening Project - The Perkins Road Widening project[18] Perkins Road Widening Project] is 3 miles (4.8 km) in length, from Essen to Siegen Lane. Currently, this section of Perkins Road serves nearly 25,000 vehicles per day. The finished roadway will be 5 lanes with curbs and gutters. There will be 2 through lanes in each direction and a center turn-lane with an additional turn lane added at the intersection of Perkins and Bluebonnet Boulevard. There will be a 6-foot (1.8 m) wide sidewalk and subsurface drainage on each side of the roadway. It will be similar to the existing Perkins Road west of Essen Lane traveling toward College Dr. All existing signal equipment will be upgraded with the latest in signal technology. This new technology will include mast arm signal supports, light emitting diode (LED) signals for low energy consumption and longer life, and video traffic detection cameras.
  • LA 16 Widening Project - The La. 16 widening project[19] is approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) long, from Denham Springs to Watson. This stretch of highway currently serves almost 25,000 vehicles per day. The new roadway will have four lanes. There will be two through lanes in each direction separated by a raised median. The new lanes will be 12 feet (3.7 m) wide with a 10-foot (3.0 m) outside shoulder and 6-foot (1.8 m) inside shoulder. This is the first capacity project being constructed using surplus funds obtained from the 2007 Legislative Session.
  • I-10 Expansion in Jefferson Parish - The expansion of I-10 from Causeway Boulevard to the 17th Street Canal[20] will relieve traffic congestion at the Causeway Boulevard interchange. Traffic congestion has been steadily increasing in this area for years as a result of the rapid population growth and urban development occurring on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore. This section of I-10 is one of the most traveled roads in Louisiana. Work on the 1.9-mile (3.1 km) stretch of interstate includes adding a fourth lane on each side of the roadway, constructing a second lane on the entrance and exit ramps at the Causeway and Bonnabel Boulevard interchanges, and the relocation and upgrade of water and sewer mains along the I-10 service roads. The new roadway is being constructed with asphalt that is formulated to lengthen the life of the pavement and lower long-term maintenance and repair costs.
  • I-10 Widening in Baton Rouge - A project to add a third travel lane on each side of I-10 from the I-10/I-12 split to Siegen Lane. This project is scheduled to be let in Aug. 2008. Work on the project began in late fall 2008.

Roadside vegetation[edit]

The DOTD has a department for roadside vegetation granted by Act No. 682 of the Regular Session of the State Legislature of 1989. There is a DOTD Chief Architect and a DOTD Chief Engineer and each district has a "District Roadside Development Coordinator". Mowing of interstate and Louisiana highways are under the jurisdiction of Roadside Development but all road construction and improvements are subject to inspection and approval.

The department uses a 54 page manual that sets guidelines and rules for landscaping, wildflowers, mowing, and spraying herbicides and pesticides. The state has an aggressive stance on the preservation and planting of wildflowers. The guidelines state that mowing should be a minimum of three times a year on interstate highways and two times a year on state highways. The Environmental Protection Agency designated the Louisiana Department of Agriculture to enforce compliance of applicators of herbicides or pesticides with training provided by the Louisiana Extension program. The District Roadside Development Coordinator must be licensed by the state and be proficient in all aspects of pesticides and herbicides.

Bridges[edit]

DOTD is the agency in charge of the Bridge management system for planning and design, building, inspection, and even replacement of bridges in Louisiana.

Bridge analysis[edit]

There are seven southern states listed in the "General Performance Information: Southern states comparison" chart. The National Bridge Inventory Report,[21] issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the LADOTD, list Deficient Bridges by state and highway system. The reporting was current as of August, 2009.

State Percent (%)
Alabama 24.7
Arkansas 22.7
Florida 16.4
Georgia 19.7
Louisiana 29.2
Mississippi 24.7
South Carolina 22.0
Southern state average 23.1
National average 25.1

Current projects[edit]

  • I-10 Twin Span Bridge - The Interstate 10 Twin Span Bridge[22] across Lake Pontchartrain sustained serious damage from Hurricane Katrina. Construction of a new $800 million replacement bridge is underway. The new bridge will consist of two Parallel structures, each wide enough for three travel lanes, with 12-foot (3.7 m) shoulders on each side. The westbound bridge is scheduled for completion in late 2009. The eastbound bridge is slated to open two years later.
  • US Route 190 Amite River Bridge - The Amite River bridge project[23] U.S. 190 - Amite River Bridge Project] is 1.2 miles (1.9 km) in length along U.S. 190 (Florida Boulevard) beginning at LA 426 (Old Hammond Highway) and ending approximately a quarter of a mile west of LA 1032 (South River Road). Currently, this section of U.S. 190 serves nearly 26,000 vehicles per day. The project will be built to the north of the existing bridges. The bridge will consist of two continuous spans, 2,900 feet (880 m) long and 40 feet (12 m) wide. Each span will have two 12-foot (3.7 m) lanes, a 10-foot (3.0 m) outside shoulder, and a 4-foot (1.2 m) inside shoulder. The contractor will maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction throughout the duration of the project.

Ports and port facilities[edit]

The DOTD is the authority over ports and port facilities in Louisiana.

Public Works and Water[edit]

Mission Statement; "To administer and implement the water resources programs and projects related to ground and surface water, dam safety, cooperative agreements with various federal agencies, interstate compacts, flood plain management, flood control, navigation, drainage, hurricane protection and other water related programs. The department is responsible for regulating and inspecting water wells, drilling, licensing, and enforcement of water wells."[26]

Canals, Levees and dams[edit]

DOTD operates and maintains the dam, water control structures, gates, spillway and related appurtenances on 20 state constructed reservoirs and is required to inspect all dams to ensure conformity with established standards and regulations.[27] The department works closely with the United States Army Corps of Engineers.[28]

Floodplain Management[edit]

DOTD is the State Agency for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The state works in conjunction with FEMA on a 25%/75% ratio.

Aviation[edit]

The DOTD is responsible for monitoring 62 airports in the state. A completed TIMED project of the DOTD is the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Commercial vehicles[edit]

All commercial vehicles in the State of Louisiana are governed by the Dept of Public Safety.

Weights and Standards[edit]

The DOTD division of "Weights and Standards" is the office responsible for vehicle over-size permits on Louisiana highways. DOTD considers there are twelve stationary scale house locations in the state but for most "Point of entry" (POE) locations and divided highways there is a scale house on each side of the road.[30] When the scalehouse is open all trucks not equipped with "Prepass" must enter the scalehouse if directed. Exceptions are scales that have Weigh in motion scales. Dept of Public Safety enforcement officers (DPS) have portable scales and can weigh a vehicle anywhere it is safe.

Divisions[edit]

Facilities[edit]

  • Louisiana Transportation Research Center - a joint operation with Louisiana State University to provide research and education for transportation issues.[31]

DOTD projects[edit]

The following is a partial list of objectives of the DOTD and is a five year plan that began July 1, 2008 and ends June 30, 2013.

  • Objective 2.1.1: Ports and Harbors; Invest in port and harbor infrastructure to maintain a top position in maritime commerce.
  • Objective 2.1.2: Flood Control; Invest in flood control projects to reduce flood damage
  • Objective 2.1.3: Flood Insurance Reduction; The DOTD has a goal working with FEMA to ensure flood insurance policyholders receive annual rate reductions by June 3, 2013
  • Objective 2.1.4: Water Resources; Infrastructure conditions and serviceability assessments on flood protection systems, dam safety, and water wells.
  • Objective 2.1.5: Marine transportation; Develop a statewide "Marine Transportation System" (MTS) program to mitigate highway congestion.
  • Objective 2.1.6: Rail Transportation; Implement a statewide Rail Transportation System (RTS) program to mitigate highway congestion.
  • Objective 2.2: Aviation responsibilities; Airport aviation safety, regulations, and capital improvements.
  • Objective 2.3.1: Public Transportation; Improve and expand rural public transportation to 50 parishes.
  • Objective 3.1.1: Engineering and Operations; Effectively maintain and improve the state highway system.
  • Objective 3.1.2: TIMED Program; Ensure that all program goals are completed by December, 2013.
  • Objective 3.1.3: Bridges; Improve the condition and safety of Louisiana deficient bridges to not more than 23% by June 30, 2013. NOTE: The web site list the year as 3013 but this is an obvious misprint for a five year goal.
  • Objective 3.1.4: Rest Areas; Improve Louisiana's image with the "Rest Area Improvement Plan".
  • Objective 3.2: Bridge Trust; Maintain bridges and ferries across the Mississippi in the parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Bernard.
  • Objective 3.3; Planning and Programming; Provide strategic direction for a seamless, multimodal transportation system. A main goal is to reduce the number of fatalities on Louisiana highways by 6% per year.
  • Objective 3.4.1: Traffic Safety; Reduce the length of time from study, design, to installation of new or modified traffic signals.
  • Objective 3.4.2: Emergency Management; Implement a comprehensive emergency management program.
  • Objective 3.4.3; Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS); This program has several goals to include traffic management in metropolitan areas; establish regional, district, and statewide traffic management centers; motorist assistance; traveler information; update and enhance the Louisiana "Commercial Vehicle Information System and Network" (CVISN)
  • Objective 3.4.4 : Statewide highway marking program; To develop and implement an interstate roadway marking program for at least 90% of all interstate roadways.
  • Objective 3.5.1: Marine operations(ferries); To operate, maintain, and police, ferries crossing the Mississippi.[32]

PERBA[edit]

The DOTD also maintains the Permits Electronic Routing Bridge Analysis(PERBA) that includes a "Trouble Board" of restricted roads throughout the state.

See also[edit]

Hurricane evacuation route

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] -Headquarters and offices map
  2. ^ [2] -Ferry and moveable bridge status
  3. ^ [3] -Louisiana Transportation Authority (LTA)
  4. ^ a b c [4]-DOTD District locations
  5. ^ [5]-Baton Rouge camera locations
  6. ^ [6] -Lafayette camera locations
  7. ^ [7] -Lake charles camera locations
  8. ^ [8] -Hammond/Northshore camera locations
  9. ^ [9] -Houma camera locations
  10. ^ [10] -New Orleans camera locations
  11. ^ [11] -Shreveport/Bossier camer locations
  12. ^ [12]- *Monroe/West Monroe camera locations
  13. ^ http://www.contraflowmaps.com/ contraflow maps-
  14. ^ http://gohsep.la.gov/evacinfo/no_contraflow.htm -contraflow plan
  15. ^ http://www.dotd.louisiana.gov/maps/ -contraflow instructions
  16. ^ [13] -South Louisiana evacuation route
  17. ^ La. 1 Improvement Project -LA 1 improvement program
  18. ^ [14] -Perkins road
  19. ^ La. 16 Widening Project - LA 16 widening project
  20. ^ I-10 Expansion in Jefferson Parish - I-10 expansion in Jefferson Parish
  21. ^ http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/nbi/county09a.cfm#la
  22. ^ Twin Span Bridge Official Site _Twin Span bridge
  23. ^ [15] -Amite River Bridge
  24. ^ [16] -DOTD on LOOP
  25. ^ [17] -NOLA on LOOP
  26. ^ [18] -Mission Statement
  27. ^ [19] - Dams
  28. ^ [20] -Army Corps of Engineers
  29. ^ [21] -DOTD press release.
  30. ^ [22] -weigh station locations
  31. ^ [23] - Louisiana Transportation Research Center Official Site
  32. ^ [24] -DOTD Strategic plan and objectives

External links[edit]