City roads gets smooth upgrade during quarantine period

Many Baton Rouge road projects ahead of schedule due to stay-at-home orders

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Much of Baton Rouge returned to work on Friday, May 15, and when they did, they may have noticed a few differences during their daily commute.

“You know, I think we made some good headway,” said Fred Raiford, director of the Department of Transportation and Drainage for the City-Parish of Baton Rouge.

Raiford says roads have gotten some much needed resurfacing while the roads have been clearer during the pandemic.

“And I think the people that stayed off the road, so it made it move a lot faster, and I think the people now are seeing a benefit from that,” Raiford said.

Park Boulevard, Sherwood Forest Boulevard, and Goodwood Boulevard are all getting much needed resurfacing.

“Sherwood Forest Boulevard and Goodwood Boulevard are major traffic carriers and with schools being closed allowed much more areas to be done without worrying about traffic backups on these two areas,” he said. “We have three schools in this area which contributes also to the traffic on the road.”

"You don’t have to roll up here very long to realize this is fresh and new and nice,” said Pastor Joshua Fowler with the Church of Christ on Goodwood.

Fowler’s church will open back up to the public in June, and he says a new street makes a difference.

“But a nice, smooth road as you’re rolling in, it just kind of gives you a little greater feeling of being kept up, secure, family,” he said.

Although Park Boulevard isn’t a “major” traffic carrier, it was a major mess. The lumps and bumps have long been a problem. The smoother road intersects with Government Street, which is another major roadway project. That project is being handled by the state.

"I mean, it’s so much better to travel here. I tried to avoid it before, but now, this is like my way home now,” said Leonard Coats, a driver.

“And it carries a lot of traffic from LSU. The fact that LSU was out certainly made it easier to get this work done, which was a lot of curb replacement,” said Raiford.

“We’re hearing contractors say that they’re getting anywhere from 10 to 20 percent more productivity out of the workers on those jobs,” said Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson, during an interview with WAFB’s Scottie Hunter.

RELATED: Construction crews capitalize on lighter traffic to accelerate Baton Rouge area road projects

Perkins Road and South Acadian Thruway are among the state projects seeing accelerated timelines, so while it might seem like the world stopped back in March, that certainly wasn’t the case.

“I have driven these roads many times during the construction. All of them should finish early with light traffic on them,” said Raiford.

Even if you’re not ready to return to work, the ride to get there will be a little less bumpy.

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