D ENHAM SPRINGS — Drivers in Livingston Parish are going to be seeing fewer traffic lights in the coming years.
Roundabouts are coming to Walker South Road, Juban Road and Florida Boulevard, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri LeBas said in a Wednesday meeting with the parish Chamber of Commerce.
A series of traffic circles on Juban will be the first all-roundabout corridor in the area, said District Administrator Allison Schilling. The plan is to install three — one at the Florida intersection, one near the shopping center currently under construction and one about halfway between Florida and Interstate 12 where no crossroad currently exists.
Another would be built at Florida Boulevard and Eden Church Road to prevent a bottleneck from Juban traffic, Schilling said.
Roundabouts carry continuous traffic flows and are said to improve safety by reducing the number of opportunities where opposing traffic intersects.
The department hopes to eventually replace most, if not all, traffic lights with roundabouts on Walker South between the interstate and Florida Boulevard as well.
The plan will take several years to materialize. Schilling said funding for all the traffic circles hasn’t been allocated and it isn’t clear when they will all be in place.
A roundabout at the intersection of Walker South and La. 16 is scheduled to begin construction in early 2017.
Next spring, DOTD will begin soliciting bids to build traffic circles at Eden Church Road and the ramps connecting Walker South Road to I-12.
Schilling said her department has also studied widening the Walker South overpass, but the project is not currently funded.
Roundabouts have been proven to be both safer and more efficient, Schilling explained. They cut down on time drivers spend waiting at red lights with no cross traffic and eliminate left turns, which cause many of the most dangerous wrecks, she said.
Other roadwork is coming to the parish as well. Around June, the department will begin rehabbing South Range Road in Denham Springs, replacing the asphalt south of the interstate and sealing cracks in the concrete north of I-12.
DOTD has an annual budget around $1.7 billion. LeBas told attendees at Wednesday’s meeting that her department has spent about $315 million toward 79 projects in Livingston Parish since 2008, the year Gov. Bobby Jindal took office.
“We have a lot going on in this area,” she said.