EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish has been collecting tax dollars for almost a month now to fund the MovEBR plan. Transportation and Drainage Director Fred Raiford tells WAFB they’re just about done with housekeeping and are ready to hit the gas.
“Our goal is to start meeting if not this week, the first part of next week,” he said.
They have already selected two consulting firms to manage the projects. CSRS will tackle about $800 million in capacity projects while Stantec will take on nearly $300 million in cosmetic changes. Both firms are now working to finalize a contract with the parish. Once the details are given the go ahead by the metro council, they can get to work.
“Because that is what we committed to and we want to follow that process,” said Raiford.
With almost 70 proposed fixes at various intersections and problem spots throughout the parish, Raiford says the focus right now is determining which projects will take priority. He says they will start with syncing all city-parish traffic lights.
“Synchronizing of our lights is going to be a number one priority for us because you can move traffic without tearing up Baton Rouge and I think that’s going to be one of our first goals and objectives,” said Raiford.
As those lights are brought up to speed, other projects will also begin taking shape all over town and drivers are expected to be part of the process at every turn.
“It will be a lot of public involvement and it’s going to be transparent. Everybody will know what each engineer is getting, how much is being expended and where they are from construction plans,” said Raiford. “You know, we’re trying to make it simple so everybody can come in and be able to know where they’re tax dollars are going and how much is being spent on what.”
Voters could see the early signs of work start rolling out as soon as this summer, but until those cones go up, Raiford says their team is busy behind the scenes making sure taxpayers get the best possible product for their money.
“I’m excited about it and I think the public will be once we start unrolling what those projects are and start moving us forward,” said Raiford.
Anyone who would like to review the projects can find them here.