Collision Course: A look at the most dangerous intersections in Ouachita Parish
Every day, thousands of people drive on Thomas Road. Every day, they're driving on the Ouachita Parish's most dangerous road.
"It's really bad," West Monroe resident Roy Withers said.
"Next thing you know, there's a crash," Sherrie Barnett said.
"No, I'm not surprised," Joan Toston said.
It doesn't surprise West Monroe Police either.
"Thomas Road has been number one for traffic accidents in our area ever since I can remember, since I was on patrol myself," WMPD Chief Jeff Terrell said.
Crash data from WMPD shows there were 274 crashes on Thomas Road in 2017, almost one per day. The most dangerous spot of all - Thomas Road and I-20. In 2017, there were 13 crashes just in that spot., easily making it the most dangerous intersection in Northeast Louisiana.
"At that intersection is a yield sign," Terrell said. "So, motorists are trying to merge onto Thomas Road, headed north. They'll turn to look at traffic headed north, and the vehicle ahead of them stops - rear end."
Even more, DOTD says that intersection is one of the three most dangerous in the whole state.
"That is a very, very busy ramp," DOTD Traffic Engineer Natalie Sistrunk said. "So, with the amount of traffic, it just increases the potential for accidents there."
All in all, Thomas Road makes our top crash list four times - at the I-20 merge, Glenwood Drive, McMillan Road, and Constitution Drive.
So, why do so many crashes happen here?
"The traffic volume is so great on Thomas Road," Terrell said. "That's where everybody's at. That's where all these fast food joints are."
That's not going unnoticed. DOTD is working on a fix for I-20 and Thomas Road.
"We're going to add a right-turn lane that comes to the signal," Sistrunk said. "We're going to get a lot more storage that will keep traffic from backing up on the interstate as much as we can."
It's a $450,000 project DOTD hopes will cut down on those rear-end crashes, and make that area a little bit safer. But, it could take a few years to complete.
So, in the meantime, what do drivers need to do?
"Don't be distracted by your phone, or really anything else in your vehicle," Terrell said. "Just concentrate on driving."
"Drivers need to pay attention and be aware," Sistrunk added.