Public Works

Traffic & Communication

The Communication & Traffic Division is responsible for the installation, programming, operation and maintenance of all traffic signs and signals within the City and also the installation and maintenance of radios in all City vehicles.


Communications for the City of Lake Charles is provided by a state-of-the-art radio system. The system has been operational since 1989 and has been expanded and updated over the years to make use of changing technologies as new options and features become available.


This division maintains all emergency vehicle lighting, sirens and all related equipment for all City departments.


Traffic Signals:

1.  Who maintains traffic signals within the City of Lake Charles?

Maintenance of traffic signals on city streets is done solely by the Communication & Traffic Division of Public Works. Traffic signals on state routes are maintained jointly by city and state crews. However, the programming of state signals is the function of the State Department of Transportation and Development.


2.   What is a traffic signal?

A traffic control signal is a type of highway signal by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and permitted to proceed. Traffic signals are described as either pre-timed or traffic-actuated. Under pre-timed control, duration of the red, green and amber intervals are predetermined. Under traffic-actuated control, the duration of green intervals varies according to traffic demands.


3.   What are some advantages of traffic signals?

Traffic control signals, properly located and operated, usually have one or more of the following advantages:

(a.)  They provide for the orderly movement of traffic.

(b.)  Where properly used, they can increase the traffic handling capacity of an  intersection.

(c.)  They can reduce the frequency of certain types of accidents, especially the right-angle type.

(d.)  Under favorable conditions, they can be coordinated to provide for continuous or  nearly continuous movement of traffic at a definite speed along a given route.

(e.)  They can be used to interrupt heavy traffic at intervals and/or to permit other traffic  (vehicular or pedestrian) to cross.


4.    What are some advantages of traffic signals?

      (a.) Many people believe that traffic signals provide the solution to all traffic problems                       at intersections. This has led to their installation at a large number of locations where               no legitimate need exists.

(b.) Excessive delay may be caused.

(c.) Disobedience or disregard of the traffic signal is encouraged.

(d.) The use of less adequate routes in an attempt to avoid such signals.

(e.)  Accident frequency (especially rear-end type) can be significantly increased.


5.   Preventive maintenance program

Our signal preventive maintenance consist of inspecting each and every signal within the City every 18 months. At this time we clean and service the signal heads and replace any parts needed and service the signal controller and cabinet. Records are kept of all work done and are on file by intersection.


6.   Responding to emergency signal calls

The Public Works Department receives calls for signal malfunctions from various sources such as the Police Department, Fire Department, other City Departments and directly from citizens. A signal technician immediately responds to all calls for any reported signal malfunction. Repairs are made and the signal is put back into operation as soon as possible.


Calls for bulb outages are will be addressed right away or before the end of the work day; depending on the work schedule of the signal technician.


Records are kept of any and all work done on signals and are filed by intersection name and number.


7.   Signal timing

This division, based on traffic volume and movement, determines timing for all city-operated signals. We are replacing some signal controllers with actuated-control as well as redesigning some intersections to meet the traffic demand.


8.   Request for new signals at non-signalized intersections

Request for new traffic signals are routed through the Engineering Division of Public Works. If this request has merit then we are directed to do a study of the intersection for warrants as set forth in the MUTCD. This study may be cursory or in-depth depending on the warrants met. We then give Engineering our recommendations.


9.   Records

Records in the form of work reports are kept on all work preformed on traffic signals and are filed by intersection name and number.



1.  How do I request a sign?

(a.)  Stop and yield signs: Requesting a stop and/or yield sign at a new location requires City Council action to pass an ordinance. Contact the city councilperson for the area in question and make the request to them. You may call the Clerk of Council at (337) 491-1290 to find out the name and contact number for the area in question or give the information to the clerk.

(b.)  Speed limit signs: Speed limit signs requests can be made directly to Public Works and require no council action, unless the request is to change the speed limit. In this case the procedure is the same as for stop and yield signs.

(c.)  No parking signs: These also require City Council action unless it is to repair or replace an existing sign. Any questions, such as if parking is allowed or not at a particular location, may be directed to Public Works.

(d.)  Other signs: All other sign requests, such as Watch for Children, School Signs, Pedestrian Signs, Side/Road Markers and Street Markers may be directed to Public Works. 


2.  How to report a missing or damaged sign?

Whenever you notice a damaged or missing sign, it may be reported to the City Police or directly to Public Works.


3.  Why do we install various signs?

Stop signs: The stop sign causes a substantial inconvenience to motorists, it should be used only where warranted. A stop sign may be warranted at an intersection where one or more of the following conditions exist:

1.      Intersection of a less important road with a main road where application of the normal right-      of-way rule is unduly hazardous.

2.      Streets entering a through highway or street.

3.      Un-signalized intersection in a signalized area.

4.      Other intersections where a combination of high speed, restricted view and serious accident      record indicates a need for control by the stop sign

Prior to the use of stop signs, less restrictive measures such as yield signs, where a full stop is not necessary at all times, would be recommended.


Stop signs should never be used to control speeding!

The primary objective of the speed table program is the reduction of vehicle speeds on residential/subdivision streets. There may be certain beneficial side effects to speed table installations, such as a reduction in arterial traffic diverted to local streets, but the intended purpose is speed control.

To learn more about the City of Lake Charles Traffic Calming Program, click here.



1. Where are they required?

(a.)  At high traffic intersections with pedestrian traffic

(b.)  Near schools and playgrounds where pedestrian traffic is present

(c.)  Anywhere that traffic and pedestrian movements conflict and a need for protected crossings  are warranted by traffic studies


     2. Where should crossings be located?

         Crossings should always be located at a controlled intersection and mid-block  

         crossings should be discouraged.


     3. How do I report a crosswalk in need of maintenance or request a new crosswalk?

         Contact the Public Works Department.


Contact Us

Blake Sonnier,
Maintenance Supervisor

4331 E Broad St
Lake Charles, LA 70615
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