DOTD reveals La. 30 concepts

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles

     Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development revealed three possible alternative routes for La. 30 and I-10 during a public meeting held on April 26 at the Gonzales Civic Center. 

     The purpose of the project is to improve the mobility and safety of La. 30 and the I-10 interchange, as well as reduce traffic congestion along some of the major roads in Ascension Parish. The project, still in Stage 0, will span from Ashland Road, La. 3251, to S. Burnside Ave., La. 44.

     "The project is needed to reduce congestion and to accommodate existing and future traffic. This will provide for more efficient movement of people and goods," said a release from DOTD.

     The first alternative shown was a conventional diamond interchange with restricted crossing u-turn intersections. This concept includes the addition of medians with six-lanes and various u-turns and left turns through movements from side street approaches.

      The benefit of this plan is reduced travel time due to less wait time for left turning traffic, improved safety by reducing the risks of accidents and a decrease in congestion.

     Another alternative would be to create diverging diamond interchanges along La. 30, resulting in decreased congestion and and fewer collisions than traditional interchanges. Though this is similar to alternative one with raised medians and r-cuts, it includes multiple lanes that switch directions on the opposite side of the ramp under the interchange.

     The third alternative proposed would add seven roundabouts along La. 30 with reduced speeds of 35 mph. The concept also includes a new I-10 connection through a La. 429 connector roadway that will provide a high speed industrial roadway and a new interstate interchange.

     As the roundabouts are designed to slow drivers down, the alternative would reduce fatalities by up to 90 percent and injury crashed by 76 percent, in addition to saving money by reducing road electricity and maintenance costs.

     "We wanted to try an alternative that was more walkable and pedestrian friendly," said DOTD traffic engineer Jody Colvin. "It's more the shopping and walking center, the corridor, and we want to be able to preserve that."

     Short term improvements were also discussed at the meeting. If passed, La. 30 would receive an additional 12-foot lane with an eight foot shoulder lane on the eastbound side running from Ashland Road to Cabela's Parkway.

     The second short term improvement includes the construction of a left turn lane at La. 30 between I-10 westbound and Veterans Blvd.

     Short term improvements are anticipated to begin construction in early 2017 and the three proposed alternatives study completion is anticipated in late 2016.