Motorists on La. 1 this month will be stopped and asked to complete an online survey regarding a proposed La. 1/La. 415 connector upon returning home.
Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot said the survey, part of an investment-grade study through global, Massachusetts-based company CDM Smith, will ask questions like: Do they take La. 1 over the Intracoastal Canal daily? Would they be willing to pay a toll?
“It’s going to have to be funded with a toll,” Berthelot said of the connector, estimated to cost between $75 million and $130 million.
He said the Port Allen Bridge at La. 1 is currently the only way to cross the Intracoastal Canal.
Port Allen Police Chief Ken Bates said in August that 42,000 vehicles cross the Intracoastal Canal daily. Since Sept. 1, the Port Allen Police Department has received assistance in that area from the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office due to the volume of motorists keeping Port Allen police officers from regular patrols, Bates said.
The proposed La. 1/La. 415 connector would be located near American Way and would be 2.7 miles long, with a new bridge, connected to the interstate at the 415 interchange, Berthelot said.
He said the study will indicate the amount of revenue the parish can expect to receive from the connector and that estimates from CDM Smith are “probably going to be a little on the conservative side.”
In order to finance the connector, Berthelot said the parish will likely sell bonds that it has, but those bonds cannot be sold without “credible information” such as an investment-grade study.
“Excuse the pun, but you can literally take it to the bank,” he said.
In January Berthelot said he expects to have the results of the survey which will determine whether the parish needs to seek additional funding for the connector.
The parish has also removed one speed bump on Louise Street, per the request of resident Larry Bell.
The parish installed two speed bumps on Louise St. a few months ago, based on a petition brought forward by resident Calvin Young in favor of the speed bumps, Councilor Naomi Fair said.
Young said the speed bumps worked to reduce the speed of motorists on Louise Street but said Bell was unhappy, as he was against the speed bumps in the first place. Young requested that the parish keep the speed bump by Young’s house and remove the one by Bell’s house.
Berthelot agreed, saying the council would look into new policy for future speed bumps stipulating removal no less than a year after installation.
Berthelot said he has proposed some options to the council and once he receives feedback he hopes to introduce a speed bump ordinance at the December meeting.