Posted: Oct 31, 2012 10:36 AM by AP
PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) - Drivers using La. Highway 1 in West Baton Rouge Parish will be stopped at random and asked to participate in a travel demand survey designed to help determine the financial feasibility of a proposed connector route linking La. Highway 415 to Highway 1.
The survey, being administered by CDM Smith through a contract with the parish, is part of a $460,000, eight-month investment-grade study associated with a proposed toll road project.
The Advocate reports Parish President Riley Berthelot asserts the toll road would help ease traffic congestion at the Port Allen bridge.
"This investment-grade study is something we'll be able to go to the bank with and use to sell off a few bonds we may need to start construction with," Berthelot said on Tuesday.
Preliminary designs for the connector route, by engineering firm Volkert & Associates in Baton Rouge, call for building a 2.7-mile, $130 million, four-lane toll road, Berthelot said.
The project's initial cost could drop to about $75 million if the parish decides to build a two-lane route with an option to widen the road later if need be, Berthelot added.
"In order to finance this, it will have to be done with toll revenue," Berthelot said.
This is where the travel demand survey comes in, CDM Smith project manager Jonathon Hart said.
Hart said plans call for interviewers to approach La. 1 drivers at traffic lights and hand out informational cards asking them to go online and complete a 10-minute, Web-based survey.
Hart said participants would be asked why they use La. 1, how often they travel the busy roadway and how they believe their travel times could be reduced with alternative routes.