ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish Department of Public Works Director Jim Ferguson has received two letters from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development indicating two turn lanes have been approved and will be added at two busy intersections along U.S. 61.
The turn lanes will be added when the funds become available, the letters said.
One right-hand turn lane will be added to the northbound lane at the intersection of U.S. 61 and Folkes Road. A second right-hand turn lane will be added to the northbound lane at the intersection of U.S. 61 and La. 966.
Councilman Mel Percy said he read a comment on a popular social media site that mentioned the dangers of turn onto the two roads off of U.S. 61. Percy called Ferguson, who wrote a letter to DOTD in February asking that traffic count studies be conducted for the two intersections to determine if there was enough traffic volume to justify the expense of building the lanes.
In addition, the West Feliciana Parish Council passed a resolution requesting the lanes.
DOTD reviewed crash data from Louisiana State Police’s database as part of its study.
In May, Ferguson received two similar letters from DOTD District Traffic Operations Engineer Christopher Ewing that said, “After reviewing traffic volumes and crash data for the intersection, I do believe a right-turn lane is warranted at this time. The right-turn lane will be constructed when funds become available and the work can be scheduled.”
A third request for a flashing signal warning light at the approaches to the Audubon Bridge turn lanes was denied by DOTD because it was determined sufficient signage is available warning drivers of the impending traffic light.
Ferguson said he doesn’t know when the work will begin because it depends on the allocation of funding from the state through DOTD.
“We followed the routine and requested it, and after they processed the study, they determined both intersections warranted it (turn lanes),” Ferguson said. “It’s a safety issue that needs to be addressed and now it depends on the funding.”