Drivers are no longer able to circle the Arsenal Park grounds in the shadows of the State Capitol.

A section of the roadway that runs along the east side of the Capitol has been closed to through traffic as part of the first phase of a security upgrade project that’s nearing completion.

Drivers will be able to travel from the Governor’s Mansion along the rear of the Capitol to Third Street on the west side. But vehicles traveling from Third Street will be able to travel only as far as a controlled access point and then be forced to turn around, state Office of Facility Planning and Control Director Mark Moses said Friday.

Moses said that ultimately, the roadway will become a two-way street between the Governor’s Mansion and Third Street. “But we couldn’t get all that work done” before the Legislature opens April 13, he said.

“That work will begin in June after session,” Moses said.

According to the Division of Administration, $2 million has been set aside for the project, which also includes making traffic two-way on the south side of Arsenal Road.

Signs soon will be posted alerting drivers of “no through traffic” from Third Street or “limited access,” Moses said.

“Anyone who goes on that road will reach a guard shack and turn around there right back to Third Street,” he said.

Drivers will be able to go from Spanish Town Road toward the Arsenal Park and branch off toward the Governor’s Mansion.

Work is wrapping up on the first phase of the nearly $4.8 million State Capitol security upgrade, Moses said.

“They do understand this (coming) week is the last week that they have,” he said. “All driveways, parking lots and sidewalks should be open by next week.”

The project, which began in July, converts part of the parking lot in front of the Capitol building into a pedestrian plaza. When the Legislature is in session, decorative bollards bordering the plaza will be removed and the plaza area will be used for parking. Bollards are vertical barriers that stop the passage of vehicles. Bollards also are being installed along the perimeter of the Capitol to stop vehicles from getting close to the Capitol from the parking lot and street.

Four security posts are being installed on the northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest corners to police parking restrictions. The stations will be manned as deemed necessary by the Legislature.

Electronic controlled access to restricted lots also would be available.

Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter, @MarshaShulerCNB. For more coverage of the state capitol, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.