DENHAM SPRINGS -- Motorists using South Range Avenue could have to learn a new driving approach to their destination when a state road project is complete.

Mayor Gerard Landry said the state Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is working on a project to change where motorists could make left turns and how they use the center turning lane — or whether or not they can use at all.

It could also involve removing some traffic lights and closing some driveway accesses to South Range Avenue, he said.

“Safety is the No. 1 issue,” Landry said, which calls for reducing the number of accidents and having a better flow of traffic. Accidents on South Range include rear-end collisions and vehicles being sideswiped, the mayor said.

“People slam on their brakes to make a left turn,” Landry said, while other motorists use the center lane “as an acceleration lane to merge into Range Avenue.”

The proposed project -- approximately 1.04 miles long -- begins 700 feet north of Aspen Square Road and continues north to Bay Street, according to the DOTD website.

The project proposes modifying two-way left-turn lanes, creating dedicated left turns. It would also include signal re-timing, driveway closures, and adding bulb-outs, or extending the road surface for larger vehicles to make U-turns.

salad station

Motorists traveling north on South Range Avenue who want to turn left to enter the Salad Station have to enter this dedicated turning lane.

The estimated cost of the project is $2 million to $4 million, according to the DOTD website.

Dedicated left-turn lanes were installed in Covington and Mandeville and helped those cities’ traffic conditions, Landry said. The dedicated left-turn lane would be similar to what is now in place in front of Salad Station and Church’s Chicken, Landry explained.

With a limited number of dedicated left-turn lanes, some motorists will have to pass the street they want to turn on, go through the U-turn and come back to their street, he said. Every left turn will have an extended apron, or road surface, on the other side of South Range to help make the U-turn.

The dedicated left-turn lanes would eliminate some traffic signals, the mayor said.

DOTD held a public meeting in November in Denham Springs to present the plan to the public. Another meeting is planned but has not been announced.

At the first public meeting, residents voiced their concern and asked questions, Landry said. DOTD reported, “There was a 70 percent to 80 percent acceptance of the left-turn lane proposal,” he said.

According to the project’s conceptual layout on the DOTD website, a total of six left-turn lanes would be installed.

The first would be between Carolyn Avenue, on the west side of South Range, and Cooper Street, on the east side.

From there, going north, the other left-turn lanes would be at the following locations:

-- Veterans Boulevard.

-- Del Orleans Avenue.

-- Del Norte Avenue.

-- Hazelnut Street.

-- North Street.

A total of eight extended aprons — four on each side of South Range Avenue — are proposed. A total of six driveways would be removed in the following locations:

-- Regions Bank, 1509 S. Range Ave.

-- Iberville Bank, 1441 S. Range Ave.

-- Ron’s Seafood, 1160 S. Range Ave.

-- Denham Pointe Shopping Center, 1121 S. Range Ave.

-- Hancock Whitney Bank, 1010 S. Range Ave.

-- Walmart Supercenter, 904 S. Range Ave.

Landry said he experienced the turning problem first-hand a few years ago when he was leaving First Guaranty Bank. The mayor pulled out to go north on Range Avenue and another motorist wanted to go south.

“We met in the middle,” he quipped.

Fortunately, neither was injured, the mayor said.

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(2) comments

BigBob

So. Range Ave is a nightmare. The Speed Limit is 45 by I defy anyone to try and do 45 because of volume and poor drivers. People will not get into the turn lane prior to coming to their turn.They cree[ along looking for the intersection and then get into the turn lane. Even when conditions permit people will NOT do 45. The lights timing is atrocious...catch one and you will catch EVERY light after that. Too much time for cross traffic and exiting traffic from Del Orleans and at Tate Rd. DOTD needs to do a major study of this stretch. I note there is work going on at the I-12 West off ramp. Are they going to put in more North and Southbound turn lanes onto Range....They are desperately needed...especially N. Bound...and the light timing needs to be adjusted so traffic can actually turn right off of I-12 without waiting through two cycles[thumbup]

CajunJedi

I completely agree with you BIGBoB!
Another area of MAJOR malfunction is the Rushing Rd and Range Ave intersection. As I’m sure you are well aware of, if a car is either east or west bound on Rushing and wants to turn into the left lane headed south on Range, GOOD LUCK! The timing of the lights in that little stretch on Range between rushing and I-12 is so horrendous that I’m suprised there isn’t a new collision every 5 minutes.

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