Questions remain around BTR Runway Extension Project affecting businesses around Plank Road
BATON ROUGE - It's a project that's been in the works for several years: creating a safer way for planes to land at the Baton Rouge airport.
"You can see where they're beginning to do the extension that's going to be around Plank Road," State Senator Regina Barrow said.
It involves removing and relocating a portion of Plank Road and extending a runway.
"It's going to go into like a curve to be able to make room for the extension of that runway, but what they've added is changes to Harding and Plank and all the way down Hooper," Barrow said.
The project, which is estimated to cost $50 million, is raising questions.
"With the new changes, we didn't understand, so they're creating a flyover at Plank and Harding which — I'm not sure and neither are some of my constituents — what will that do to the community," Barrow said.
State Senator Regina Barrow represents the area. She's concerned this project will affect businesses and homeowners along Plank Road.
"We're already struggling in North Baton Rouge as it relates to economic development and businesses in our community," she explained. "Is this going to create more of a hardship to those businesses because people now don't have to stop? And how does this actually aid and make the airport better and actually be in compliance with FAA? And that's what I think people are really trying to get to. How many businesses are going to be dislocated? How many homeowners are going to be dislocated as a result of these plans?"
A report on the work claims the impacts will be few, since the area where Plank Road will be relocated has few businesses and homes.
Barrow is holding out hope that the project won't hurt the area economically.
"If they're going to be uprooted out of the community, how is that going to help us? And what does that do for the community? Because now they will have to travel further if they want to get a home-cooked meal," Barrow said.
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