Dozens of road projects are in the works in Southwest Louisiana for the upcoming year — and many of them were discussed at the state Department of Transportation and Development’s annual Highway Program meeting Thursday.
The purpose of the hearing was to review construction priorities for fiscal year 2012-13, according to the DOTD’s website. Several area leaders talked about items on their wish lists.
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said he looks forward to more progress on the Riverfront Parkway project, also known as the Enterprise Boulevard extension, which is in Phase One.
Roach said it will be used as an alternate route for evacuations.
“We’ll have to seek funding from a variety of sources to complete Phase Two, which is still in the development phase,” he said.
Roach also mentioned the Interstate 10 service roads through the city of Lake Charles.
“We have a service system now, but it is basically a city roads system,” he said. “We’re asking that the entire system be upgraded to interstate standards.”
Roach also said there is an abundance of traffic congestion at I-210 and Nelson Road. He also wants there to be a widening of Country Club and Big Lake roads, which is La. 384 from Lake Street west to Gauthier Road.
“DOTD would have to determine the scope of that project,” Roach said.
He and Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan discussed the need for a new I-10 bridge, which is not on the list of upcoming projects.
“Regionally, this would have a major impact,” Roach said. “We would like to see a replacement of the bridge.”
Duncan asked the DOTD if the I-10 bridge would be built during his lifetime.
“Funding for the bridge hasn’t even been discussed on the federal level,” Duncan said. “The bridge is old and well below standards. We definitely need a new bridge, and we need to get it on the fast track.”
Duncan said he understands there is a lack of funding for the projects.
“But what is going to be done to get infrastructure that is deteriorating back to quality standards?” he said.
Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings, was in attendance to represent Cameron Parish.
He questioned the reliability of the ferry service on La. 82.
“The main ferry holds a lot of traffic, but it goes down quite often for mechanical reasons,” Morrish said.
He said the backup ferry is too small and cannot contain 18-wheelers.
“The backup ferry needs to have the same capacity as the first,” Morrish said. “We need two ferries with the same capacity.”