Council: Give us a turn lane on Barton
Something must be done to clear congestion, they say
The St. Charles Parish Council has asked the state Department of Transportation and Development to install a right turning lane, as well as left turning signals, on Barton Avenue to alleviate congestion.
The lane and signals would be installed where Barton Avenue meets Highway 90. Traffic in the area has become a major problem because Barton is used by motorists to reach River Road.
The road runs through a residential neighborhood that has a railroad crossing. When drivers get to River Road, the lack of a signal light at that intersection also forces commuters to wait until multi-directional traffic clears before they can turn.
Councilman Dennis Nuss, who introduced the resolution, said that he has heard several complaints from residents in recent months, with those that live on Barton saying that it is difficult to travel to and from their homes.
“I have experienced problems myself, and I believe left turn signals and a right turn lane onto Highway 90 would solve most of them,” Nuss said. “If an extra, let’s say two or three vehicles could turn right while waiting for the light to change, it would greatly improve the flow of traffic and how many vehicles come off of Barton during each cycle of the green light.”
Several residents that live on Barton say that the delays can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes at some times. It has gotten so bad that the council has also asked for a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a new highway to connect Highway 90 and River Road.
“Ever since I got into office I have received tons of complaints about Barton Avenue,” Councilman Shelley Tastet, who introduced the resolution asking for the study, said. “It’s very congested and heavy trucks are even using Barton, which is not allowed.”
Tastet, who travels on the road often, said that some mornings he is stuck in traffic for 10 to 15 minutes.
“It’s bad for the people that drive on Barton to get to River Road, but it’s worse for the people who live on the street,” Tastet said. “If the traffic is heavy, some people may not even be able to back out of their driveways.”
Tastet would like for the new highway to serve as a continuation of Willowdale Boulevard. A large percentage of the residents who use Barton Avenue live in the Willowdale/Willowridge area, Tastet said, so it would make sense to have the main entry and exit corridor of the subdivision extend all the way to River Road.
The land that an extension would have to travel through is owned by Levert Land Co. Jim Hooper, of Levert, told the council in March that the company would consider donating that land to St. Charles Parish, assuming the study shows that a new highway would be feasible.
Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said another possible route would be a more easterly one near the Davis Pond Diversion.
But until a new highway is constructed, Nuss feels like a turning lane and signal lights would alleviate the problem.
“The (DOTD) is aware of issues at the intersection, but they said that it has been awhile (before Hurricane Katrina) since they have really looked at the area,” Nuss said. “I think the chances are good - I have already spoken to Rep. Gary Smith about the request and also plan to speak with Sen. Joel Chiasson.”
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