Port railroad move good first step

<p class="p1">It’s still a few years away from construction, but progress is being made on an effort to extend Nelson Road and connect it with Sallier Street.</p><p class="p3">The project is being done by the state Department of Transportation and Development and includes a bridge over Contraband Bayou. It’s expected to cost $30.8 million and go out for bids by March 2020.</p><p class="p3">Before that work can start, other efforts must be done. That includes moving a section of the railroad on Sallier Street that could stretch from Barbe Street west to the port.</p><p class="p3">The railroad will be moved from the south side of Sallier to the north side. </p><p class="p3">It’s a project that Port of Lake Charles Director Bill Rase said is beneficial for the port. Residents who live in nearby neighborhoods will certainly be pleased because there won’t be as many rail crossings once the railroad is moved.</p><p class="p3">Earlier this week, Port Board members agreed to enter into a professional services agreement with Meyer and Associates to begin a study on designing the railroad. The port agreed several years ago to contribute $1 million to the project.</p><p class="p3">Port Board members also entered into an agreement with the DOTD that calls for the port to handle design and construction of the railroad.</p><p class="p3">Once the railroad is moved, the city of Lake Charles can begin work to improve that section of Sallier Street. City Administrator John Cardone said the estimated $10 million to $12 million project will include widening the roadway to three or four full lanes, along with improving drainage, water and sewer services.</p><p class="p3">Like the port, the city is using Meyer and Associates to design the improvements to Sallier Street.</p><p class="p3">Because there are so many moving parts to the entire project, it’s imperative that the city, port and state transportation department work together to make sure everything goes according to plan. Cardone said the agencies have met over the last couple of years to “coordinate our efforts” and “make sure the project happens efficiently and effectively.”</p><p class="p3">Connecting Nelson Road with Sallier Street is an important project that will certainly be a plus for the city and its residents. And while construction isn’t in the near future, at least some initial steps are being taken to move the effort forward.</p>””Road work ahead stock

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