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BATON ROUGE - Many people who use Gardere Lane on a daily basis say they're anxiously waiting for a sidewalk project to get started.

There are no sidewalks along Gardere Lane in South Baton Rouge. It's a state highway many people walk along between Nicholson and Burbank. Over the years there have been accidents, injuries and some people have been killed.

"You kind of got to navigate, improvise to get from one point to another," said Frederick Foreman.

Many pedestrians walk along the road, sometimes right in the path of traffic to avoid deep ditches or tall grass. There's a worn-in dirt path created by the heavy foot traffic. Often people are forced to cross the street with no crosswalks and people ride their bikes along with the cars. A project to add sidewalks to either side of the highway has been in the works for years.

In 2015, the Baton Rouge Metro Council agreed to design and build a sidewalk and multi-use path on Gardere Lane. Friday, 2 On Your Side learned the preliminary plans have been drawn and will next go through a review phase. The lead on the project, Civil Solutions Consulting Group, Inc., says the project is six to nine months away from construction.

It's being funded by local and federal dollars and will cost about $1.3 million. 

The project was originally broken into three phases, but has been consolidated into two phases since the project was awarded significant federal funds.

The project, once complete, will include a five foot wide sidewalk on the east side of Gardere from Nicholson to Burbank and a multi-use path on the west side of Gardere from Nicholson to BREC Hartley Vey park.

Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe, who represents the Gardere area, says this project is a long time coming and he's looking forward to the project being completed.

Once the project design is approved, it will go out for bidding. Culverts will need to be buried and ditches filled in some areas prior to the multi-use path being installed.

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