Comments on possible La. 70 detour sought
MORGAN CITY, La. -- A study of the environmental impact for the possible construction of a detour route and bypass for La. 70 in the Bayou Corne sinkhole area is being done by Providence Engineering in Baton Rouge. The company is seeking views and comments on the project.
The Stage 1 study will also include the development of alignment and grade of the roadway.
“I have already received several comments and we are open to listening to anyone that has something to say about the project,” Paul Griggs, senior project manager of Providence Engineering, said this morning.
Griggs said views from federal, state and local agencies, organizations and individuals are solicited during the planning stages. The special expertise of these groups can assist the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development with the early identification of potentially economic, social, or environmental effects associated with project development, he said.
Providence Engineering is taking comments until July 10 in the initial stage. Griggs said there will be a public meeting to provide further information and open up the process for more comments. The meeting date has not been set.
The highway department has no concerns related to the integrity of La. 70 in Assumption Parish and if the highway remains stable the detour will not be constructed, according to Deidra Druilhet, a public information officer with DOTD. The Stage 1 study is expected to be completed in six to eight months, she said.
In addition to a temporary detour route, Providence is also studying feasibility options and their environmental impact for a permanent by-pass. Making the detour route permanent would be one of those options, according to Griggs.
The study could be expedited and completed earlier if circumstances regarding the highway change, Griggs said. Construction of the detour could begin within six months, perhaps less, if the state highway department determines that a detour becomes an immediate necessity.
Installation of additional equipment along the highway and its calibration should be completed in the next three weeks, according to Assumption Parish of Emergency Preparedness director John Boudreaux. He said when that is completed there will be around-the-clock monitoring of the highway and bridges.
If La. 70 becomes unstable, plans will move forward with constructing the detour and bypass, Druilhet said. Until a detour is completed, traffic would be diverted through the following routes:
—Traffic traveling to Pierre Part and points south will be directed to La. 1 South to La. 398 West, to La. 662 West, to U.S. 90 West to La. 70.
—Traffic traveling from Pierre Part and points south will be directed to U.S. 90 East to La. 662 East, to La. 398 East, to La. 1 North to La. 70.
—Local traffic (passenger vehicles and trucks below the posting of the Bayou Pigeon Bridge) will be able to take La. 997 to La. 75 to La. 404 to La. 69.
Those routes can be found on the DOTD website.
Comments on the routes should be addressed to: Paul Griggs; La. 70 Detour Route c/o Providence; 1201 Main St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802. The fax number is 225-766-7440. Griggs’ email is firstname.lastname@example.org (Refer to State Project No. H.010571.2).
The next community briefing on the sinkhole itself has been scheduled for 6 p.m. July 16 at the Assumption Parish Community Center located at 4910 Highway 308 in Napoleonville.