Central Thruway on schedule to open in 2013

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - People who live in the City of Central and even Livingston Parish can't wait for a way to shave off some drive-time. A north- south roadway between Central and Baton Rouge is getting closer to opening. Here's a progress report on the Central Thruway and word of yet another road in Central that is ready for repair.

Barricades are lined up on several sections of the Central Thruway. But it appears not everybody is obeying the road closed signs. While our cameras were out, we spotted a white car making its way down a section of the new road and around another set or barriers. Extra patrols are out in the area and ticketing cars they catch doing so. In fact the spokesman for the city says the contractor on the project paid for those extra deputies.

"It's probably the most popular question around - When's it going to be open?" Barrow said. Residents in Central have been asking the question for as long as the road has been under construction, for three years.

Once the cones come down in late summer/early fall, drivers will be able to use the thruway to get to Florida Boulevard. And we're told it'll take just three minutes.

Barrow says this project is the largest of its kind taken on by the city-parish. And it comes with more benefits.

For one, Barrow says, the contractor built a bridge on the thruway to tower over the Comite River. So if the river creeps onto Greenwell Springs Road during a flood, there's still a way into Central.

But, that will not be the last of the road blocks here.

"They'll have to close Frenchtown Road for nine months to a year. They didn't want to have that closed at same time as the Central Thruway; too many road closures in one."

The bridge over Beaver Bayou needs to be replaced. Barrow says when you look underneath at the old wooden posts, you can see why.

"It's a low bridge and water goes over the roadway and some homeowners have no way in and out of their neighborhoods," said Barrow.

Crews will be raising the road around seven feet, to fix the flooding issue. Barrow says they'll also fix the narrow road by widening it as well.

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