BATON ROUGE- A plan to expand the intersection at Lee and Nicholson Drive is alive again.
The project got as far as engineer selection in 2002, but was put on hold. Now, if the Metro Council approves what amounts to a paperwork formality Wednesday, the work will be a go once again.
East Baton Rouge Parish Green Light Program Director Michael Songy said, "The intersection badly needs turning lanes and I don't think that there's any argument from the motoring public of that, it thinks it's more of a question of why hasn't it been sooner."
More than $9 million will give the area a face-lift, complete with a new bridge south of the intersection on Nicholson, a less steep railroad crossing on Brightside and those longed-for left turn lanes.
Engineers say right-of-way work could begin by the end of the summer. Moving utilities will follow at the beginning of the year and construction starts once that is complete. Drivers will have to bare with the road rebuilding for ten to 12 months the it's smooth sailing.
Some aren't looking forward to the revamp even though they recognize it's needed.
Driver Brent Howard said, "It's just going to slow everything down and make the process even worse and I guess we'll just have to see what happens."
But Andi Carroll says she's all for it, as a driver, and as the owner of Frosted cupcake shop on the corner.
She said, "I think it's great because it will probably get more people on Nicholson. I think a lot of people probably avoid coming this way right now especially during rush hour. We're a business that relies on a lot of walk-in clients so the more people we have coming down Nicholson the better it is for us."
The cost is mostly covered by federal dollars. The state and city-parish are pitching in just 20%.