Ascension leaders building new roads to accommodate growth

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - There is a big business boom taking shape in Ascension Parish.

Leaders are coming together on a plan to build new roads so that commuters are not stuck in traffic.

Louisiana Highway 30 was once an old country road through the heart of Gonzales. But now it is bustling with businesses. It is no secret commerce is alive and well there. It is also clear traffic can be a nightmare.

Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez said there is a reason for that.

"It's probably been about 60 years since we built a new road in Ascension Parish," Martinez said.

He and state leaders have applied for a federal grant to help relieve traffic congestion. The plan is to add a new, one mile road from the Edenborne Development near the River Parishes Community College to St. Landry Road, which runs in front of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center. St. Landry would be widened from two lanes to four, then connect across highway 30 to Ashland Road.

Gonzales City Mayor Barney Arceneaux said it will take more work to get traffic moving.

"Something needs to be put in because the traffic in the mornings and afternoons are terrible. Tanger (Outlet Center) is tough. It's a good problem to have but really, really, bad right now," Arceneaux said.

The plan serves three purposes. To help traffic flow better on highway 30, get people to and from the Lamar Dixon Expo Center easier, and give plant workers an alternate route in emergencies.

Martinez said bigger plans include installing four roundabouts from Interstate 10 to St. Landry Road to keep traffic moving.

"I think there's some big announcements pending that I think you will be hearing about soon," Martinez said.

While he could not go into detail, Martinez said he does not see business slowing down in the next decade and he wants to make sure that applies to traffic too.

If the federal government approves the $12.5 Million grant, Martinez said construction will begin in a year.

He expects to find out by October.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.