Toll road debate along Amite River
POSTED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 6:37pm
UPDATED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 7:31pm
ASCENSION PARISH, La (NBC33) — People living and working along the Ascension Parish Livingston Parish line are buzzing about a proposed toll road that could connect the two parishes. Some residents say it will help ease traffic troubles along La. 16 and La. 42, other say it could destroy their property value.
"Sick to my stomach," Lisa Gautreaux, Ascension Parish homeowner who lives on the Amite River. "It upsets me a lot. The proposed routes would put it on top of our home."
She's working on finishing up her dream home on the river, but she's concerned the view from her porch could include the proposed toll road.
"I feel like it would depreciate the value of the property tremendously. The peacefulness the surroundings and all the noise. It would not do anything for our property at all," Gautreaux said.
Ascension Parish Council approved an agreement , on October 17, to give the go ahead to American Transportation Partners to look into building the proposed toll road. Jeff Diez, Ascension Parish Attorney, said the company has two years to look into and decide to take on the project. The project would be an approximately two mile long toll road.
Diez explained the proposed road could connect the areas of La. 933 and La. 42 in Ascension Parish to the areas of La. 16 and La. 447 in Livingston Parish.
Diez said the company would be responsible for funding the project. The company would own, operate, and maintain the proposed toll road.
Livingston Parish is also a part of the agreement. Parish President Layton Ricks said the Livingston Parish Council approved the idea during the summmer. Ricks said the current crossing over the Amite River at Port Vincent would remain a free option for people to use if the toll road goes up.
Susie Parker, Livingston Parish business owner, said the proposed toll road would be a big plus for commuters.
"I would definitely love to see another bridge to cross that river." Parker said.
Right now Parker said the fastest way for her customers to cross the Amite River is the bridge in Port Vincent, but she said it can be a hotspot for traffic headaches.
"Port Vincent, if that bridge goes down then you have to turn around and go back take the interstate or one of the back roads if you know them. I've seen when they traffic through here it would be two or three hours of people stopping in here using the restroom buying stuff because the roads down.," Parker described.
Parker hopes the company will be able to make the plan work, and let people know their decision soon, so she can make plans for her business.
"You don't know whether to enlarge. You don't know whether to say where you at, because you don't know what's coming and not going," Parker stated.
Gautreaux wants Ascension Parish leaders to look at other options to fix traffic troubles.
"It might but I think if they four 'laned' the bridge and La. 42 it would make the route quicker," Gautreaux described.