METAIRIE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana parish council has ratified a contract for the preliminary design, surveys and traffic study necessary for a project to widen a boulevard from four to six lanes over the distance of more than a mile (meter).
The Jefferson Parish Council ratified the contact with Metairie-based Design Engineering Inc. last week in the project to widen Causeway Boulevard between Airline Drive and West Napoleon Avenue, news outlets reported.
Reda Youssef, director of the parish’s Department of Capital Projects, said the idea to widen Causeway first surfaced about 25 years ago.
However, the project had been shelved after nearby residents objected to a plan that called for removing the service roads alongside the main road and using that space for additional lanes. A parish-commissioned feasibility study has since then concluded the lanes could be added without removing the service roads.
Causeway is one of only four East Jefferson thoroughfares that connect neighborhoods near Lake Pontchartrain with those near the Mississippi River. Between West Napoleon and Airline, it carried about 53,700 vehicles on the average day in 2017, down from 63,000 in 2002, according to Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development statistics.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2020 and will cost between $12 million and $14 million. The work is expected to take at least two years to complete and will include new signalized crossings for pedestrians as well as vehicles. Funds also will be devoted to drainage improvements.
Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken said the retention of the service roads and the subsurface drainage work are key components of the project this time around, balancing the need to improve traffic flow with the needs and desires of residents.