City of Central looking at future transportation needs

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - The City of Central has growth on their minds. Tuesday night council members looked at a plan for growth over the next 24 years. That plan is all about making room for more roads.

For the last couple of years, residents in Central have grown used to seeing road work signs, dirt being leveled and barricades blocking traffic. New maps being shown to the council mean more construction is ahead.

"This map shows future roadways we would like to see built as development occurs," said David Barrow, the Chief Administrative Officer for the city. "By 2037, you could have 30,000 cars a day on Hooper Road."

That information comes from one of several maps surveyors have provided the city with. These maps break down how much traffic could be on certain roads around the city, what could happen to major intersections if new roads aren't built and suggestions on where roads need to be built in the future.

"They'll help decide how the roads need to be built...and things like bicycle and pedestrian paths," Barrow said.

One example of the planned growth is Central Square shopping area on Wax Road Extension. Developers added a traffic circle to the development to keep cars moving through. Parallel street parking was also figured in to hopefully make access to future shops easier. Wax Road Extension eventually runs into a dead end, but Barrow says one day they hope to pave over the grass and connect it to Hooper Road.

"As this part of the parish gets developed and other areas, particularly Livingston Parish traffic, we get a lot of traffic here. Got to plan for that as well."

That also means widening Greenwell Springs, Joor and Sullivan Roads. Those would be the states responsibility. Barrow says the state is aware those roads would have to be widened and it would have to pick up the bill.

Of course, there is always the option of doing nothing. Barrow says that would be unacceptable, with the anticipated growth leading to gridlock in parts of the city.

Public input is also needed to make some of the decisions. There will be a public meeting August 6, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Library.

The final study should be complete in five months.

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