Construction shuts down Barton Avenue through May

March 28, 2014 at 11:32 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Barton Avenue was closed to through traffic last week by the state Department of Transportation and Development.
Barton Avenue was closed to through traffic last week by the state Department of Transportation and Development.
The abrupt closure of Barton Avenue for road construction that will last through May has raised questions from locals about why prior notice was not given before the busy thoroughfare was shut down.

Parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson said her office was unaware that the well-traveled road would be out of operation until the day after construction began.

“The Public Information Office learned about a closure on Barton Avenue on Monday morning via the EOC, which had a report of the ongoing closure and work called in. There was no official prior notice given, that we are aware of, until the notice sent (last Tuesday) morning,” she said.

Simpson was quick to point out that because Barton Avenue is listed as a state highway, St. Charles Parish is not part of the construction efforts.

Claude Adams, of Luling, said he would have liked to have known about the closure beforehand.

“Some notice would have been nice,” he said.

However, officials with the Louisiana Department of Transportation (DOTD) said the contractor working on the project did provide notice to residents and entities that would be most affected by the project.

“Public outreach was made by the contractor. Local residents were notified March 10 via a door-to-door effort so that they would be advised of construction. DOTD also let local schools and first responders know of the change,” Lauren Lee, a DOTD spokesperson, said.

Although DOTD and the parish are encouraging motorists to use Paul Maillard Road as a detour during construction, some residents fear that drivers will use Davis Drive as a detour instead.

Pallie Miller, of Luling, said traffic is already bad enough on Davis Drive without having to worry about motorists who would ordinarily take Barton Avenue using it as a detour.

“I hope they increase patrols on Davis to catch the speeders. They are ridiculous already today. Especially in the mornings when the kids are catching the bus,” she said.

Barton Avenue will undergo reconstruction between River Road and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

“We are going to be removing and reconstructing with a new base and asphalt. The existing pavement needs to be replaced,” Lee said. “We are maintaining access for locals. Any other traffic would have to use that alternate route.”  

Councilwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier said while the improvements are being made to the roadway, she thinks that DOTD could have been better about informing St. Charles Parish residents.

“They probably look at Barton Avenue as not a main roadway. If you are not from around here you may not realize,” she said. “DOTD is pretty much it’s own entity and they can operate how they want. I don’t think that there is a requirement about how they notify us.”

However, Fisher-Perrier is encouraged that such a project is being undertaken in the parish.

“I’m glad to see work being done. We like to see tax dollars spent in our parish, but it’s unfortunate that this will inconvenience some people,” she said.

View other articles written Kyle Barnett

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