Through a joint venture between East Baton Rouge Parish’s Green Light Plan, the city of Zachary and Americana, a road-widening and intersection improvement project continues in Zachary.
The initial phase of the project, which was completed in 2012, added a right-turn lane for northbound U.S. 61 motorists at Mount Pleasant Road (La. 64) with improvements to the westbound approach.
Once complete, Mount Pleasant from Highway 61 to Old Scenic Highway (La. 964) will be a four-lane roadway with a raised central median and open ditches. Subsurface drainage, curb and gutter and utility relocation work is also being performed.
However, with the construction of a new hotel, credit union and progression of the Americana development, the focus has been on completing a roundabout at the entrance to Americana and widening Mount Pleasant from Barnett Cut Off Road to Old Scenic.
The Green Light Plan still intends to widen the road from U.S. 61 to Barnett Road, but the project is last on the program’s list, according to Zachary officials.
Created nearly four years ago, the Americana Economic Development District will use 1 cent in sales taxes from Americana and 1 cent of existing undedicated sales taxes in Zachary to help finance a portion of the $7.5 million road improvement project.
“Zachary is funding the work initially but will be reimbursed over time by East Baton Rouge Parish,” said Zachary Chief Financial Officer Steve Nunnery. “The roundabout portion will be repaid by the AEDD.”
R.J. Daigle & Sons is contracting the job, which began in November and is expected to be completed March 2016.
Motorists in Zachary are aware also of another road-widening project — Main Street from La. 19 to McHugh Road.
The center turn lane project, which began in July, will allow drivers to make a left turn into businesses along the busy street, which is a state highway.
The Department of Transportation and Development is funding the under $5 million project, which is expected to take 286 days to complete, barring any weather delays, said Department of Public Works Director Chris Davezac.
The scope of the project includes the relocation of utilities, drainage work, pushing the existing right of way back, adding the middle turn lane and spot repairs.
Work on the center turn lane project is being performed at night between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. by Barriere Construction. “So far, the project has not encountered any issues. They’re moving right along,” said Davezac. “Once this project and the Mount Pleasant Road project are finished, the infrastructure in Zachary will be a welcome aspect for residents and visitors.”
As work progresses, the newly completed Zachary bypass and Lower Zachary Road, both of which run parallel to Main Street from La. 19, will help keep traffic flowing, Davezac said.
Zachary will maintain La. 64 once the project has been completed through the transfer of maintenance funds by the DOTD. But, repairs and upkeep should be minimal, said Davezac.