Montz construction should begin next year, Hahnville portion in design phase
Identified by the public as the No. 1 need for St. Charles Parish, planned walking and biking paths are making headway in plans and funding.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has approved funding for a levee bike path from the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway through Montz.
DOTD spokeswoman Bambi Hall said the project, the St. Charles East Bank Multi-Use Path Phase 6, will be funded through the Transportation Alternatives Program for fiscal year 2018-19.
The parish has submitted final plans for the project, which means DOTD is preparing to bid out the construction, Hall said. Plans are to award the bid in the summer of 2018 and begin work soon after.
Additionally, parish spokesman Tristan Babin said the planned path from Hahnville to the parish line toward Killona also is in the works.
This portion of the trail is in the design phase, which DOTD also will handle the bid, construction and management.Parish Grants Officer Carla Chiasson said DOTD funding has been awarded to the parish to complete the final phases of the Mississippi River levee bike paths on each side of the river.
The design of the final East Bank phase is complete and approved by DOTD.
“We are awaiting DOTD to place the project on the 2018-19 spending plan, completion of construction is estimated to be in early 2019,” Chiasson said. “The design of the final West Bank phase recently began and there are many hurdles to cross, such as coordination with the industries along the river and DOTD approval and spending plan scheduling; construction completion is estimated to be in 2020.”
She said the parish continues to seek ways to fund additional paths beyond the levee paths, as well as has budgeted funds to complete the Mississippi River levee paths on both sides of the river.
“Following the completion of the Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan, we will have a clear direction on where paths are most needed based on crash data and public need,” Chiasson said. “The parish will seek additional grant funding to complete additional paths.”
In earlier surveys held to develop the parish’s current Recreation Plan, she said the public identified walking and biking paths as the top facility needed in the parish.
“Communities with high rates of walking and bicycling for recreation and transportation tend to be healthier, safer, more prosperous, and more environmentally sound,” Chiasson added.
In 2003, the East Bank Bike Path Phase I project was the first levee path to be completed. This phase extends from the Jefferson Parish line to Ormond Boulevard in Destrehan.
“St. Charles Parish aims to become a walkable and bicycle-friendly parish that welcomes pedestrians and bicyclists by providing safe accommodation for walking and bicycling and encouraging people to walk and bicycle for transportation and recreation,” Chiasson said.