Louisiana DOTD Breaks Ground for Major Road Project in West Monroe
BATON ROUGE, LA Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson and Gov. John Bel Edwards joined in a groundbreaking ceremony to finally launch a project in West Monroe, Louisiana, that has been waiting more than 35 years.
Once completed, the department said the nearly $33 million project in the state's northeastern region "will vastly increase the traffic capacity through the area, as well as completely rehabilitate the roadway," and add safety features for pedestrians and motorists.
The LaDOTD said a consultant work order was first issued in 1981 to improve state route 616 (Arkansas Road). "However, actual construction of the project has been delayed throughout the years due to changes in policy, scope and limited funding," it said.
But Wilson said that with Edwards' focus "on moving these types of projects forward to delivery, we were able to refocus capital outlay money to build infrastructure and that's the type of long-term investment we're celebrating today."
The work will widen just over three miles of Arkansas Road - from LA 143 (N. 7th Street) to Caldwell Road - from two to four lanes, plus a continuous turn lane, over the next three years. It will also replace four signalized intersections with roundabouts, and provide pedestrians with sidewalks on both sides of the road for nearly the full length of the project.
The governor said it also "signifies the importance of prioritizing transportation infrastructure as critical to the future of our state's economy. In order to remain economically competitive as a state, properly maintaining and improving our infrastructure must be placed at the top of our priority list. I am pleased that DOTD is consistently working to get the priorities right."
The DOTD said the roundabouts it will build into the project "will greatly improve the efficiency of traffic movement through this section of Arkansas Road, which sees more than 18,000 vehicles pass through every day."
Roundabouts have also been proven to have a measurable impact on the safety of the traveling public by redirecting some of the conflicting traffic, such as left turns, the department said.