Sorrento mayor, residents express concerns about state safety plan to limit left turns on congested section of La. 22 _lowres


State highway officials are eyeing a multilane roundabout as one of two options for the congested La. 70/La. 22 intersection south of Interstate 10 and plan an open house presentation on the concepts Thursday.

State Department of Transportation and Development officials said in a statement on the agency’s website that a multimedia presentation on the roundabout and other possible fixes will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sorrento Community Center, 7417 Main St.

Handling nearly 23,000 vehicles daily, the intersection and the nearby section of La. 70 are a choke point for commuters and tractor-trailers leaving the I-10 exit in Sorrento for industry along the Mississippi River.

The La. 22/La. 70 intersection has a blinking, overhead traffic light, which can lead to backups as vehicles try to make a left turn from La. 22 onto La. 70. The section of La. 22 between that intersection and the I-10 interchange also becomes very congested.

Ascension Parish officials disclosed the proposed double-lane roundabout for the intersection in October and said then it would be the second phase of a project that would first add a continuous flow right-turn lane from La. 70 northbound onto La. 22 eastbound toward I-10.

Roundabouts are circular intersections with no traffic lights and controlled access. Parish officials have said the roundabout will be able to handle 18-wheelers.

J-turns, a kind of controlled left-turn location between opposing lanes of traffic, also have been proposed for the nearby La. 22 corridor but have raised some concerns for business owners worried about access in the space-limited stretch of highway.

DOTD officials late last year estimated the cost at $2.5 million to $5 million but said they had not yet decided between a roundabout or another change to the La. 22/La. 70 intersection that would allow the continuous flow of traffic.

Bill Grass, DOTD spokesman, said the agency also is looking at extended turn lanes on each side of I-10 near the I-10/La. 22 interchange in Sorrento.

Grass said construction could start in summer or fall 2018.

Verbal and written comments can be submitted at the meeting, or mailed, postmarked by March 3, to the following address:

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

Environmental Engineer Administrator, Section 28

P.O. Box 94245

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9245