New Central traffic circle opens in time for first day of school

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - A new roundabout in Central opens in time for the first day of school.

Construction crews worked overnight into Thursday morning to finish the traffic circle at the intersection of Joor Rd. and Gurney Rd. The location is close to two schools, setting up a potential traffic nightmare if crews could not get the job done by Thursday morning.

"People were here all day. Some people were here all night. Some people came both day and night," said Denzel Holliday, a construction worker with Boone Services, LLC.

Workers like Holliday are now monitoring how drivers adapt to the change. It is the second roundabout now open near school zones.

"I like it. It's quicker," said D'Juana Simpson, a driver in Central.

The intersection was previously a four-way stop and later it had a light.

"It looks great. This roundabout's open. Traffic is flowing. Nobody has to stop. Things are going very smoothly," said Central Mayor Jr. Shelton.

But smooth is not the word some other people would use to describe the city's bigger traffic picture.

Erin Regan is a mother of three. Two of her children are in Central schools.

When asked about another intersection, Wax Rd. and Sullivan Rd. where the Walmart is, Regan said, "It's horrible. If I have to go to Walmart, sometimes right now, I'll go to Baton Rouge."

The intersection of Wax Rd. and Sullivan Rd. is also close to the future site of the Settlement on Shoe Creek. It is a luxury development project approved two weeks ago by the city council. It would build 700 new housing units and have retail space.

"The more construction, the more people, everything is going to get worse," said Regan.

However, the project is now going to court. In part, a group accuses Mayor Shelton of abusing his power to get the green light to build, but the mayor said he's done nothing illegal.

"We're anxious to go tell our story, and we believe we've done everything right," said Mayor Shelton. "We're looking forward to the judge's decision, and we're certain, we're very confident, that he will rule in our favor."

Mayor Shelton is due in court next week over the Shoe Creek development.

Regarding traffic, the mayor is asking drivers to keep their patience while construction crews widen the road by the Walmart.

The mayor said traffic will be greatly improved there when construction is finished.

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