New traffic light installed at the intersection of US Highway 165 and Richwood Road No. 2

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has implemented a long overdue safety measure at a historically dangerous intersection in the town of Richwood.

A new traffic light was installed at the intersection of US Highway 165 and Richwood Road No. 2. The light was activated on March 2.

The new traffic light is designed to help improve safety and reduce nighttime collisions, which have become common at the intersection. Between January 2017 and December 31, 2020, 19 automobile accidents were reported, according to district traffic engineer Natalie Sistrunk.

“We put the signal in place, basically, to help fix the crashing issue,” Sistrunk said. “By putting in a new signal, often there’s a potential for rear ends on 165 that we wouldn’t have had before, but a lot of the crashes at Richwood No. 2 were right-angle type crashes which are usually more serious than those rear ends you get at a signal, so we’re trying to reduce right-angle collisions at the intersection.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development installed a new traffic light at the intersection of U.S. Highway 165 and Richwood Road No. 2.

Pedestrian deaths also occurred at the intersection. On January 29, 2021, two teenage girls were struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing part of US 165 south of Louisiana 17.

The addition of the light was the result of a traffic engineering study by DOTD district staff. Sistrunk said the study result showed the potential for improved safety and reduced accidents with the installation of a signal.

2021:US 165 lighting project still more than a year away from tendering

“We look at crashes and count because you have to have a certain amount of traffic to warrant a signal,” Sistrunk said. “There are like federal guidelines that have to be adhered to and so they complied with those guidelines. They had enough traffic and enough accidents to warrant putting up a signal.”

The total cost of the project is $2.2 million and is fully funded by DOTD.

In June 2021, the DOTD reduced the speed limit on US165 from Richwood Road #2 south of Richwood High School from 65 mph to 55 mph. The school speed zone has been reduced from 45 mph to 40 mph.

Overhead signs warning motorists of the possible presence of pedestrians have also been installed. The southbound sign is located just south of Louisiana 15 and the northbound sign is located on Charleston Drive.

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