Barring more delays, Nicholson, Brightside work to wrap up by summer
BATON ROUGE - Dozens of orange cones and construction equipment dot the intersection of Nicholson Drive and Brightside Lane. It's been that way since July of 2018 when the project to improve the notoriously congested area began.
The $9 million project that will add turn lanes, improve traffic signals, and repair the railroad crossing was first expected to be finished by the end of 2019. Delays have forced work to carry over into 2020. Officials now expect everything to be finished in late spring or early summer.
"We have some drainage work we need to complete, DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallet said. "Then we're going to put down the asphalt, and we're going to restripe it. All of those activities are weather dependent."
Earlier this year, crews were forced to deal with an unexpected sewer line underground that needed to be moved. Mallet, however, says that didn't cause any additional delays because other work continued at the same time. As of now, the weather is the biggest reason this project remains ongoing.
"We haven't had a complete week to where we complete work in some time," Mallet said. "It rains every day."
Rainy days like Monday don't just sideline crews during the weather event. The effects of the weather carry over into the following days, impacting what work can be done.
"Tomorrow they're going to have to try to pump that water out," Mallet said. "Then the ground is still wet and then you have to wait to move forward with the drainage project that you're working on. So it's not just the matter of it rains for an hour, so you're an hour behind, especially when we're having the weather we're having right now. The ground is saturated."
While some drivers are looking forward to the finished product, their temporary frustrations will linger until work wraps up.
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