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State sells 'Road Diet' for Government Street

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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development made its "Road Diet" pitch to the public Thursday evening.

The state hopes to sell the idea of a three-lane Government Street.  It's an idea that will have two travel lanes - one in each direction - and a center turn lane with bicycle paths along with areas for pedestrians.  Currently, Government Street has two lanes in each direction.  

At a three hour meeting showing the plan to people, engineers discussed the positive impact they expect a slimmer street will bring.  Among them, a safer drive between I-110 and Independence. 

A DOTD spokesperson estimated that there are 800 traffic crashes on Government Street in the last three years.  The crash statistics are higher than the state average for a street that handles the same amount of traffic as Government.

"[With a center turn lane] people can make that turn safer.  Instead of crossing two lanes of traffic you're crossing one," Rodney Mallet, DOTD's spokesman, said.

Planners predict with a safer street will come more businesses.  

Reaction from residents and drivers seems to be mixed.

DOTD has not said when construction would begin. 

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