Security improvements get underway at Louisiana State Capitol
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Phase one is underway at the Louisiana State Capitol on a $4.37 million project to make security improvements to the buildings, grounds and surrounding areas.
The Division of the Administration said the project aims to increase physical security, including additional security cameras and guard stations, as well as safer vehicle routes. The project will also create a more pedestrian-friendly Capitol Park and improve the flow of traffic.
"I think it's probably a smart idea," said Mary O'Brien with the state Senate legal staff. "This Capitol is visited by people from all over the world, lots of people, every day and it's hard to be sure of everyone. So, I think it's probably not a bad idea. We had a man up on our floor a few days ago. We didn't know who he was and he just sort of wandered in there and it sort of made you uneasy, but I think he was fine, but you do worry a little bit when the access is so open."
Details of the project, as provided by the Division of the Administration, are below.
Four security stations will be added around the perimeter of the Capitol. The stations will be manned during peak times, as necessary.
A command station will be added as well.
To improve traffic flow, the road behind the Capitol and Arsenal Park will become a two way road.
In front of the Capitol, a plaza will be developed that is the width of the Capitol steps. Vehicles will not be able to pass in front of the steps, however the vehicles will still be able to drive in front of the building but would have to turn around at the plaza/steps.
During session, the plaza can be converted into parking.
Overall, parking around the Capitol will increase as a new lot will be constructed on the north side. Along Fifth Street, the parking will change from two parallel lanes to one angled lane and one parallel lane.
There are currently 445 parking spots available. This project will result in a total of 473.
Deliveries will no longer be allowed in the back entry. Instead, they will be routed through a tunnel.
Work is expected to be complete before the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session, which begins in April.
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