Posted: Jan 23, 2012 10:23 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
GONZALES- The Ascension Parish Council is supporting an idea that would create an expressway on the Westbank of the Mississippi from I-10 in Port Allen to I-310 in Boutte.
Highway 3127 currently starts at Highway 70 in Donaldsonville and runs south to Boutte. Parish leaders and lawmakers say the extension would help alleviate traffic in the Baton Rouge area.
Ascension Parish leaders say the project would boost economic development on the West side and make the towns and cities safer by redirecting the commercial traffic.
The alternative to the loop is garnering more attention now that several council's and boards have put "no" votes on the record for the loop project. The expressway is estimated to cost $500-$700 million. That's a fraction of the loop's $4 billion estimate.
The problem keeping the idea down in the past is paying for it, which lawmakers say is still in the way now. But there's talk of adding tolls to the three bridges that cross the river along the proposed expressway to cover the cost.
The parish plans to poll citizens soon, and have enough feedback to make a decision on how to move forward with the plan by the end of the year.