ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Traffic can translate into frustrating delays in the Baton Rouge metro almost any day of the week, but the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has approved plans for several improvements at major intersections in Ascension Parish.
You may or may not see traffic back up at the intersection of Highways 44 and 931 during the day, but during the early morning and late afternoon, residents like Shawnna Sheets say it's a nightmare.
"You have to wait for a few light changes to get through," Sheets said.
A man named Ryan Robichaux says he does not live there, but he certainly knows what it's like to sit and wait in Ascension Parish. "Twenty or thirty minutes, four or five times a week," Robichaux said.
No matter where you turn, he said, there is just no escaping it.
"[Highways] 931, 621, crossing over at Fred's, Airline Highway, all of it," Robichaux said.
Lucky for him and everyone else who drives through the parish, state and parish leaders have announced relief is on the way. Parish President Kenny Matassa has mapped out improvements along four major highways.
"A lot of our bottlenecks are state highways and we know it is the state roads, but it is in Ascension Parish, so we got to work with them," Matassa said.
Highway 30 will get a center turn lane from Ashland Rd. to Tanger Blvd. this year and turn lanes at Purpera and South Hodgeson Ave. next year. Matassa said the goal there is to get traffic moving from nearby chemical plants. Five turn lanes are planned along Highway 44 this summer at its intersections with 933, 931, and 621.
Highway 22 will be repaired and repaved from I-10 in Sorrento all the way to St. Amant, and the biggest relief will perhaps be along Highway 42, where plans have been in the works for more than a decade.
"This is a very, very high traffic area," Matassa said.
Drainage projects and utility work are finished. Matassa said as soon as May, drivers will begin to see construction crews working to widen Highway 42. "Whatever we need to do to get it done needs to be done," Sheets said.
Leaders say drivers should begin to feel a real difference in two years.