LIVINGSTON —Parish Council Chairman Marshall Harris said he wants the parish to purchase the rights of way to extend Juban Road from U.S. 190 to Lockhart Road.

That extension is the most cost-effective highway project in the parish and possibly in the state, Harris said.

The $6 million project would handle about 20,000 cars a day, providing an important north-south roadway that connects to Interstate 12, he said.

“It would move a lot of traffic,” Harris said.

Though the parish can’t afford to pay for the road, it can help by purchasing the rights of way, he said.

The parish’s biggest road problem is getting an adequate north-south traffic flow, he said.

The 1.2-mile Juban Road extension would not only ease morning and afternoon traffic for commuters from the northern part of the parish, but would be the missing piece in what amounts to an inner loop connecting I-12 to Magnolia Bridge via Lockhart Road, Harris said.

It also would provide an important northerly route from U.S. 190 for hurricane evacuation, he said.

Widening the road between Magnolia Bridge and La. 16 is another part of that puzzle, the council chairman said.

Among the other vital transportation improvements needed are building a bridge that would connect the Watson area to Hooper Road in Baton Rouge, Harris said.

Widening U.S. 190 to four lanes from Denham Springs to La. 447 at Walker is another project important in reducing traffic congestion in Livingston Parish. That would help to reduce heavy commuter traffic between Livingston and East Baton Rouge parishes, he said.

It would also reduce the massive traffic tie ups on U.S. 190 when there is a wreck on I-12, Harris said.

Replacing the two-lane overpass over I-12 at La. 447 with a four-lane overpass would improve flow for commuters and make access better for traffic to the new Our Lady of the Lake hospital in Walker, he said.

Two important projects in the southern part of the parish are replacing the two-lane bridge over the Amite River at Port Vincent and resurfacing La. 16 between French Settlement and Maurepas, he said.

Harris said he and five other members of the Parish Council — Jim Norred, Joan Landry, Sonya Collins, Ricky Goff and Chance Parent — made a case for highway fund needs to officials in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

Council members will also discuss the projects with state officials at the Police Jury Association meeting in Lake Charles next week.