A long-awaited project to transform heavily traveled Perkins Road from Siegen Lane to Highland Road into a four-lane divided highway with a median is about to take a step forward.
Three designs are on the table to upgrade the section of Perkins Road from a ditch-lined, two-lane road to a four-lane divided roadway with a median. The first design would add a 16-foot-wide median along the whole roadway; the second would build a median that fluctuates between 16 and 30 feet wide; and the third would include a 30-foot-wide median throughout.
But there’s no need to start looking for which side streets will best suit your work commute once construction begins. The meeting is only part of the first phase of the project, which still has to endure an environmental review and seek federal money before an orange cone can touch the asphalt.
“It’s early on,” said Mike Bruce, a principal with Stantec, design consultant for the project. “We haven’t even gotten started.”
Heavy traffic on Perkins Road has consistently been a problem in Baton Rouge.
In 2007, construction began to widen Perkins Road from Siegen Lane to Bluebonnet Boulevard. The project spanned about three years and cost about $30 million.
Bruce predicted that this task could be similar to the last one but said widening Perkins Road from Siegen Lane to Bluebonnet Boulevard was slightly more complex. He said the difficulty this time will be where the widened Perkins Road meets Highland Road.
John Snow, a spokesman for the City-Parish Green Light Plan, said it is too early to predict if the project will force contractors to tear down existing structures. One of the proposed changes is to cover the open ditches in the drainage systems, which Bruce said will add room to widen the road.
“When you drive it, there’s apparently enough room without tearing down anything,” Bruce said.
This is the second meeting that state and city officials are holding to find out what residents think about the changes. The first, held more than a year ago, addressed the part of the project that fits into the City-Parish’s Green Light Plan, which funnels tax money into roadway improvements.
The widening of Perkins Road from Siegen Lane to Pecue Lane is a Green Light project and will be paid in part by local tax dollars. As is custom for Green Light projects, Snow said, designers will consider adding sidewalks to the expanded road.
The widening from Pecue Lane to Highland Road was added into the plans later and is a state project.
The meeting will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. George Catholic Church’s Kleinpeter Activity Center Parishioner’s Hall.