POSTED: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 5:47pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — "When you're ready to go home, when you get off of work at five o'clock and you're ready to go home. You want to pull your hair out," says Dee Overton.
Overton drives on Jones Creek all the time to get to work and go work. She's ecstatic a $17 million project is underway to ease traffic congestion on the one mile stretch of Jones Creek Road between Coursey and Tiger Bend.
"Way overdue. Sooner than '03. I mean you know it's growing especially since Katrina. We've had a lot more residents come in from New Orleans since then," says Overton.
The plan is to widen the road to five lanes. It's a project that's been in the works for almost ten years. Right now the Department of Public Works is in the process of doing what's called "cleaning and grubbing". This means that century old oaks trees are being ripped out to make room.
"I do hate to see the nice landscaping go down," says Charlene Maxwell.
Maxwell and her husband John have lived off of Shenandoah and Jones Creek for about 40 years. They're sad the trees have to go, but they say it needs to be done to fix the traffic problem.
"Construction is long overdue. Traffic has increased so much in the last five, six years. It's getting worse every day. It has to be done. Something has to be done," says John Maxwell.
D.P.W. says if the trees had not been removed they likely would have had to spend millions of dollars to buy businesses in the area in order to make room for the project. With a tight budget, that's money they probably would not have been able to come up with. But that leaves Overton confused as to what's really more important.
"Is a tree worth $5 million or faster traffic flow? You know. I just don't know," says Overton.