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Less traffic helped keep Government Road Diet on track for completion

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BATON ROUGE – Since 2018, orange cones have been lining Government Street while crews work on the road diet project. 

The project has been delayed with rain being the biggest problem. But DOTD says they have a completion date, and the lack of drivers on the road during the coronavirus pandemic is helping in this.

“This has allowed us to come back and reclaim some of the time that we’ve lost,” DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson said. “Maybe not necessarily finish it early, but it may help us finish on time based on the weather delays that we’ve experienced.”

Wilson says the contractor has been able to move extra crews to work during the day rather than at night for the past couple of weeks.

“Working at night is difficult because you have to set up your safety, do your work, and then demobilize your safety. So you don’t get the full time of work that you work during a day time configuration,” Dr. Wilson said.

Right now, the project is looking to be done in the Fall. Crews are now adding in left-turning lanes and medians.

“This will reduce some of the congestion in this corridor,” Dr. Wilson said.

The medians are only being built in certain spots, including in front of Jay’s Bar-B-Q.

“Which means if anyone is traveling east they will not be able to turn in. They have to turn in on the corner over here,” the owner, Melton Leblanc said. “It’s going to be a bit on an inconvenience, but I don’t think it’s going to kill us.”

The roundabout on Lobdell will likely take the longest to complete.

“Roundabouts are built in segments and in phases, so I suspect that it will be one of the latter ends because of the sequencing and needing to manage traffic through there during construction,” Dr. Wilson said.

The road diet includes reducing a 4 mile stretch of Government St. from four lanes to three, with one lane in each direction and a center turn lane.


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