Construction projects planned for Gonzales add turn lanes, should ease traffic _lowres

 

With three projects in the design phase and a fourth set to begin construction next month, Gonzales road projects that add turn lanes and more should make travel a little easier, city officials say.

A fifth project that would add roundabouts on La. 30 in the Tanger Outlet Center area is awaiting the results of a study by the state Department of Transportation and Development.

Once construction begins on all of the projects, there will be some temporary traffic headaches for travelers, but the work should pay off, said City Engineer Jackie Baumann.

“The need is to move traffic through the major corridors” of the city, she said.

One of the projects also will make getting around easier for pedestrians, she said. Still in the design phase, the project is set for La. 44/Burnside Avenue that runs through Gonzales and will replace failing concrete, repair sidewalks and install wheelchair-accessible ramps along the road through the oldest party of the city.

It also will provide pedestrian striping for crosswalks on the street that has long had a speed limit of 25 mph.

“We turned in the final plans (to DOTD) yesterday,” Baumann said Friday of the La. 44 project.

It’s possible the work will be done in the first half of 2016, she said.

“Our goal is to enhance the historic district and make the street-scape more inviting,” Baumann said.

The new master plan for the city adopted in August by the City Council calls for a restoration of a distinctive downtown for Gonzales.

“This is the city’s way of revitalizing the historic district,” Baumann said of the roadwork coming to the area.

New landscaping also will be part of the project, she said.

Almost all of the streets — La. 44, Orice Roth Road, East Worthey Road, Cornerview Road and La. 30 — being repaired and improved are also state highways, so the city will be collaborating with the state on the work.

Purpera, one of the streets getting turnarounds, is a city road, but the turnarounds it will be getting are at its intersection with La. 30.

“All of these projects are collaborative, between the DOTD and the city,” Baumann said.

With a budget fueled largely by healthy sales tax revenue, Gonzales has chosen to pay the cost of the design work, Baumann said.

It’s a way to get projects “planned quicker and moved forward faster,” she said.

Design costs for the projects in the works range from $135,000 to $165,000, Baumann said.

“We’re blessed to be able to do that,” said Baumann, adding that municipalities often don’t have the capital outlay funds to pay for roadwork design outright.

The state will split with the city the construction costs of the road projects, typically at ratios of 80/20 or 90/10 with the lion’s share of the money coming from federal dollars funded through DOTD, Baumann said.

City officials hope to see the projects now in the design phase begin construction in 2016.

In addition to the work in downtown Gonzales, other projects in the design phase are dual left-turn lanes on La. 30 at South Purpera Avenue and rehabilitation of Cornerview Road with dual left-turn lanes to be put in on Cornerview at Irma Boulevard.

A project that’s moving to the construction phase soon will be pavement replacement on Orice Roth and East Worthey roads, which is scheduled to begin in January.

The city spent $100,000 for the design work for those two roads. The city’s 10 percent share of the construction costs for both will be $235,000, Baumann said.

The city is waiting on the results of a study by the DOTD, which is expected to be released early next year, on putting in several roundabouts on La. 30, most of them near the Tanger Outlet Center.

Of traffic overall in the city, Mayor Barney Arceneaux said that turn lanes are needed in busy areas.

“We’re looking at some key areas for road improvement in 2016,” Arceneaux said.