WALKER - Work began Thursday to improve Burgess Avenue before the state transfers ownership of the road over to the city of Walker.
The Department of Transportation and Development will improve drainage and overlay Burgess Avenue from Highway 447 to West Colyell Creek.
When the work is completed in May, the state will transfer the road over to Walker. It's part of the state's road transfer program that aims to shed 5,000 miles of roads from state control. That would get Louisiana in line with the national average.
"It's going to help the state focus on the connectivity with the state system that allows for the freight travel and tourism and more farm to market like travel," said DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallett.
Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey says the state billed the city of Walker $1.2 million in 2000 for having to move utilities when widening Highway 447. Now the transfer of Burgess Avenue from the state to the city is a way to repay most of that debt.
Ramsey says there's pros and cons to controlling Burgess Avenue. The city would be able to control any changes to the road like restricting traffic or adding speed bumps for example. However, the city would have to pay for any improvements or work in the future.
DOTD says drivers can expect intermittent lane closures while crews work to improve Burgess Avenue. To avoid the construction zone, drivers can use US 190 as an alternate route.