Baton Rouge garbage problems? Blame Intracoastal Bridge traffic

    Chalk up another casualty to the nightmare that is westside traffic stemming from repairs to the Intracoastal Bridge … Baton Rouge garbage collection.

    Anyone making the daily commute to the other side of the Mississippi River knows all too well the problem that is a clogged La. 1. And now, city-parish officials are saying the rage-inducing traffic is also responsible for garbage pickup delays in East Baton Rouge Parish as Republic Services garbage trucks are struggling to trek back and forth to the landfill.

    While trucks don’t have to cross the river, traffic congestion on Interstate 10 and I-110 is causing delays.

    The issue—and the complaints—have gotten so bad that Mayor Sharon Weston Broome released a statement this afternoon, acknowledging the trash collection delays and notifying residents that the city-parish is working to solve the issue.

    “Due to heavy traffic congestion as a result of the La. 1 Intracoastal Waterway Bridge lane closures, residents in East Baton Rouge Parish are experiencing delays in residential garbage and trash service,” said Broome’s statement. “Republic Services, the city-parish trash collection provider, is aware of the situation and is working with the city-parish on a plan of action to alleviate service delays during this period of increased traffic congestion.”

    The mayor is also advising residents to report missed service by calling 311 and to leave out trash carts until they are serviced.

    When Republic services residents on the south end of the parish, a trip to the landfill on the northern end of the parish takes a little under two hours to get there and back, says Republic Services municipal services manager Karla Swacker.

    However, with the increased traffic, those trips now take more than three hours.

    With the extended commutes, there is simply less time in the day to collect trash, Swacker says, meaning some residents’ trash will be missed and pushed to the next shift. She says she expects any similar service in the city-parish to be experiencing the same issues.

    “I’m sure if you talk to UPS or FedEx—anyone delivering in Baton Rouge—they will tell you pretty quickly this traffic snarl is affecting a lot of things,” Swacker says. “It’s not just the interstate but all service streets are gridlocked.”

    The La. 1 intracoastal Bridge repairs have been ongoing for weeks, beginning with regularly scheduled repair work, causing massive traffic backups on the westside, and then emergency repairs after a dump truck ran into the bridge, making matters worse.

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