St. Mary

Jul 17, 2012 11:10 PM by Maddie Garrett

Public Input on Proposed Hwy 90 Interchange

Your brakes could soon get a "break" on Highway 90. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is considering the construction of an interchange at the intersection of Highway 90 and Highway 318 in Jeanerette.

Plans include building an overpass of Hwy 90 over Hwy 318, or the opposite with Hwy 318 going over Hwy 90. But construction can't start until the public weighs in. DOTD held a public hearing Tuesday night.

"As you know we are in the process of upgrading 90 to interstate standards as part of a legislative directive," said DOTD Public Information Officer Deidra Lockhart.

That upgrade could mean building an interchange where one of the highways would pass over the other.

"Being able to increase mobility, being able to have traffic to flow more freely, that will be a very important aspect of this project," said Lockhart.

But the proposed interchanges come with some draw backs. Construction could take out nearby farmland and homes right off the highway.

Caribbean Winds subdivision houses roughly a dozen families. Lorna Bourg, with Southern Mutual Help Association, worries about the effect the interchange would have on those families.

"Some of them are very low income families, and they're special needs families and so we need to pay particular attention at the design that will do the least amount of damage to the families in the area," said Bourg.

Bourg thinks combining the two plans would save the homes, by building entrance and exit ramps around the subdivision.

"So it's one of these things where you do need to have an interchange, you do need to have a safe intersection, we understand I-49 and the exit that's needed, let's do it the most sensible way, let's don't displace the people that are most vulnerable," she said.

DOTD takes the public's concerns into consideration before finalizing a plan. Construction is set to start in fiscal year 2014 - 2015 and the projects range in cost from $32 million to $47 million. You can send in comments on DOTD's website at: www.dotd.la.gov.

 

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