Parish officials met with residents Tuesday evening at the Lakewood Elementary Gym to discuss an upcoming major road construction and drainage project on Lakewood Drive, scheduled to begin May 20th.
Officials from multiple parish departments and branches of local government, along with engineers and road construction contractors, were on hand to share information and answer resident questions as the parish prepares to kick off the project. Roughly 80 parish residents were in attendance, with the bulk of the meeting presented by Parish President Matthew Jewell and a representative from Byron E. Talbot Construction, the road construction contractor hired by the parish.
“Lakewood was originally dedicated around the 1970s,” Jewell said at the opening of the meeting. “If you’ve headed down Lakewood Drive in the last five or 10 years, you’ve noticed that it’s in pretty poor condition; it’s fairly bumpy, and has drainage issues.”
Lakewood Drive’s condition has deteriorated over the years, evident by recent work Jewell said the parish performed cleaning out the Lakewood Drive drainage system.
“Just recently, last year, we actually removed 60 tons of debris from the culverts; a lot of the debris was actually road base leaking into the culverts,” Jewell said, further evidence Lakewood Drive was past due for reconstruction work.
Eager to address the longstanding issues residents have faced with Lakewood Drive, St. Charles Parish arranged the upcoming construction project as a complete overhaul for the majority of Lakewood Drive, with the primary goals of addressing road conditions and drainage problems. The $6 million project is expected to take approximately nine months to complete and will be segmented into five phases. The first phase of the project will start around May 20, beginning at the intersection of West Heather Drive and Lakewood, working northward.
“East Heather traffic will not be able to access West Heather through the intersection until this phase is completed,” St. Charles Parish presentation materials disclosed at the Tuesday meeting.
The project will continue advancing north, finally completing at Highway 90. According to the parish offices, the project is being funded using a combination of 80 percent state funding, and 20 percent parish funding. Added improvements have been included in the project to improve traffic flow, including a dedicated right-hand turning lane at the corner of Lakewood Drive and Highway 90.
Lakewood Drive is one of the most heavily traveled residential streets in Luling and serves as a main access artery for several residential subdivisions. Numerous Luling households and a small number of businesses and churches are anticipated to be affected by the project. Increased traffic congestion along Lakewood Drive is expected, as the street will be restricted to one lane, with the two key Lakewood Drive intersections also heavily affected. Officials at the meeting recommended avoiding Lakewood Drive whenever possible while the project is underway to help ease traffic congestion. Parish officials recommended alternative routes such as Willowdale Boulevard or Oak Street, since both have traffic light controls off Highway 90, when seeking to access the areas south of West Heather Drive to further help with congestion during the nine-months-long project.
Contractors at the meeting said the project will require some residents with driveways along Lakewood Drive to be temporarily inconvenienced with temporary rock entranceway access to their homes while the existing roadway is stripped down and replaced. Parish officials also mentioned accommodations for trash and mail collection have been pre-arranged for affected Lakewood Drive residents to help avoid service interruptions.
For more information regarding the Lakewood Drive construction project, including detour routes, residents can visit www.stcharlesparish.gov/lakewooddrive.