Rain, coronavirus cause delays in LA 42 widening project in Ascension Parish

Rain, COVID-19 delay completion of LA 42 widening in Ascension Parish

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There’s constant traffic right outside of The Galvez Seafood Company in Prairieville, located on LA 42.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) said due to rain and COVID-19, the LA 42 widening project may not be done until the spring of 2021.

“Just the traffic and the backup it’s caused in general. No one wants to mess with it really,” said Dylan Pastorick, with The Galvez Seafood Company.

The folks there say while their business is still solid with loyal customers during the dinner rush, they’ve noticed a recent trend.

“The lunch crowd is a lot slower because people only have an hour for lunch. So, they can’t spend 30 minutes of it, sitting on 42,” said Pastorick.

There's constant traffic right outside of The Galvez Seafood Company in Prairieville, located on LA 42.
There's constant traffic right outside of The Galvez Seafood Company in Prairieville, located on LA 42. (Source: WAFB)

This section of LA 42 has been under construction for more than 6 years.

It’s part of a more than $36 million, a state-funded project to expand the highway.

Ascension Parish officials also paid for a portion of the drainage and sewerage work on the roadway, so it will not hold too much water.

“The project that you see now, happens to be the ending rather of the sewerage system, the utility relocations, the actual construction of the roadbed, and there were delays associated with that,” said Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

"The project that you see now, happens to be the ending rather of the sewerage system, the utility relocations, the actual construction of the roadbed, and there were delays associated with that," said Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
"The project that you see now, happens to be the ending rather of the sewerage system, the utility relocations, the actual construction of the roadbed, and there were delays associated with that," said Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. (Source: WAFB)

Things like constriction crews calling out sick with coronavirus, rainy days, and of course hurricanes have pushed back the completion date by a few months.

But when the project is finished, two more lanes will be added, along with a sidewalk, and a bicycle lane.

“That is expected to increase (traffic on the roadway). You’ve got new homes, new schools, new properties that are being developed. All with driveways to access directly on there. Compare it to the interstate, when we’ve got 85-90,000 people in that Highland to 73 stretch,” said Secretary Wilson.

Wilson says more than 22,000 cars travel LA 42 each day.

Once those extra lanes are added to both sides, it will not only help with traffic congestion throughout Prairieville but throughout all of Ascension Parish.

“It’s going to be a much better project in terms of the quality of life you’re getting out of that, and the value that infrastructure brings to that community. So, it’s a little different than that little road carrying 22.000, it’s going to be a much bigger footprint,” said Secretary Wilson.

And the state says it will be a lot safer.

But bottom line, the folks over at Galvez Seafood just want the road finished!

“Absolutely! And like I said, the traffic is just the main thing, people don’t have time to sit in it,” said Pastorick.

Wilson hopes the project will finally be completed by March or April of 2021, of course, if the weather and everything else cooperates.

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