HWY 30 expansion holds ribbon cutting

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux (foreground) addresses the media during the ribbon cutting ceremony for DOTD's right lane project on La. 30, which wrapped up April 10. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson stands in the background.

The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) held a ribbon cutting Friday after adding a continuous right lane along 1.09 miles of La. 30 from Ashland Rd. to Tanger Blvd. The project was completed on April 10.

"What DOTD has done is put in an additional lane that starts out within the parish and comes in within the city," Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux said. "What it will do for us--all the commercial vehicles that we've got through here, the personal vehicles we've got through here, as you well know there's so much more traffic than we've ever had before--it's going to help. It's going to be an asset to our traffic condition."

DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson called the project "very important." Construction began in July 2017. Wilson said the project lasted longer than the original four months it was scheduled for because of the changes in the environment, noting a cold winter season.

Wilson added that touches on La. 30 all the way to the interstate such as striping will be completed shortly.

"With the tremendous growth we've seen in Ascension Parish--we're experiencing tremendous growth in this parish and in this community--that this turn lane was needed in order to move traffic efficiently and reduce congestion along this corridor that experiences over 19,000 travelers per day," Secretary Wilson said. "And in the next number of years we expect that 19,000-traveling number to increase to in excess of 25,000 cars per day."

He added that La. 30 has not only grave significance to Ascension Parish but to the state. The area of the expansion is a popular stopping point for people traveling between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well as being a vital part for commerce to and from the Geismar plant facilities.

"This area is also home to one of the biggest shopping centers over at Tanger Mall and the centers in the south, which has spurred tremendous development, as you see many of the buildings sprouting up and growing in this community on either side of La. 30," Secretary Wilson said.

He said legislative support is crucial to additional projects planned in the area. It is not a matter of planning, designing, and building with DOTD.

"Our challenge is funding," Wilson said.