When Wal-Mart Comes to Town

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014

walmartNo one wants to deal with more traffic headaches, and when a large new retailer comes to town, it can cause concern, especially when it comes to congestion, delays and travel times.

When a new Wal-Mart was planned for Ponchatoula, Sain Associates started working with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) early on in the traffic impact study. As a resident of the town, I was very familiar with the main intersection that would be impacted. I heard many opinions and reactions from other residents that were not all favorable. In fact there was quite a bit of opposition to the project.

Those who had concerns were mainly worried about potential traffic and drainage issues. The new Wal-Mart is located in a predominately residential community and in the middle of a commercial corridor that leads to a hospital. I read multiple newspaper articles that expressed worries about building a Wal-Mart in a location that could make it difficult to get to the hospital in times of emergency due to extra traffic.

The main intersection already had functional issues. One of our goals and a goal of LADOTD was to improve these problems while incorporating the additional traffic the store might create. We tried to be practical and meet the needs of both the store and the traveling public. We also stayed mindful of the hospital along the corridor and did not want to impede flow to that facility.

In order to ensure a positive outcome, we designed additional lanes at the intersection of US Highway 51 and LA Highway 22 to allow for southbound dual left turn movements. After construction and the opening of the store, traffic flow has actually improved through the intersection. The signal installed at the Wal-Mart driveway has not caused any problems for the US Highway 51 corridor.

Working closely with the LADOTD throughout the traffic study and signal design phase allowed for collaboration and development of a great quality product that works well and takes care of issues people were concerned about. The overall impression now that construction is complete is that traffic is much better than expected. It’s amazing what good traffic engineering can do, and we are happy to have been a part of the project!

See more about the specifics in this video.

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