The chances of the state building a new highway to connect Highway 90 to River Road in Luling appear good after Councilman Shelley Tastet and Parish President V.J. St. Pierre met with the Regional Planning Commission about the project.
“At the meeting, the Department of Transportation and Development was taking an aggressive approach to a new highway,” Tastet said. “There is a lot of communication going on.”
Currently, Barton Avenue serves as a major connection between Highway 90 and River Road, but it runs through a residential neighborhood. The road has become heavily congested because of the lack of a signal light at the intersection of Barton and River Road, which forces commuters to wait until multi-directional traffic clears before they can turn.
Two railroad tracks also run through the street.
The commission is looking at three options when it comes to building a new highway, Tastet said. One route would call for the extension of Willowdale Boulevard to River Road, while another would be a more easterly route that would run near the Davis Pond Diversion.
The third option, which appears unlikely, would be further west near Barton Avenue.
“Everyone was very receptive to the idea of building a new highway,” Tastet said. “Right now, Barton is so congested and it’s causing a lot of problems. Ever since I got into office I have received a ton of complaints about it.”
Commute time on Barton can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes at some times of the day, and it creates a hassle for those that live on the street and have trouble even backing out of their driveways.
Tastet and St. Pierre will visit with the Regional Planning Commission early next month and will go over all three options. Tastet said that the Davis Pond Diversion route would make the most sense.
Rathborne Land Co. owns a majority of the land that such a route would travel through. Tastet said that the company has shown an interest in donating the land needed for the highway.
An extension of Willowdale Boulevard would travel through land 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.
“A new highway would be major because not only would it take pressure off of Barton, but it would also take pressure off of Paul Maillard Road,” Tastet said. “If a new highway is constructed, Barton would then become a parish street, which is what it should be since it runs through a neighborhood.”