LIVINGSTON – A stretch of a major artery through Livingston Parish lacks one vital element found along the rest of the highway's span – something a local lawmaker the state to change.
State Sen. Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, said he will seek priority funding during the 2018 legislative session for fund expansion and paving of the shoulders on a portion of U.S. 190 between Denham Springs and Walker.
“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t have them,” he said.
The span of roughly five miles is the only portion of the highway across the state without an asphalt shoulder. The entire Louisiana stretch of the highway extends from Merryville on the western end to Slidell, where it merges with U.S. 90 near the Mississippi border.
The stretch from Livingston to Hammond includes asphalt border.
Erdey does not understand why the state never paved or extended the shoulder along the Livingston 9 stretch, which has been an east-west artery for the state since the late 1920s.
“I never could figure out why it’s that way, other than perhaps a legislator who made the governor mad,” he said.
Erdey has requested funding for the widening, or at least a third lane which would make for better flow along the busy artery.
U.S. 190 remains open during closure of Interstate 12, but traffic often slows down to a crawl during those instances.
“If they were to widen this road to three lanes, we would at least have an additional lane for turning,” he said. “During a shutdown of Interstate 12 and diversion to 190, they could use the center lane for contraflow, with two lanes going one direction and a third going the opposite way.”
Priority funding would not put the project in the budget any time soon, but Erdey hopes the state and DOTD will recognize the need for improvements along the stretch of highway.
“If there were a lot of accidents in the area and a need to pull off on the side of the road, I know the bog-down would be the big issue for traffic along U.S. 190,” he said. “They also look at a lot of other factors, including the number of vehicles, the number and how much of a congestion issue it is.”
A resurfacing project will begin shortly after the new year along U.S. 190, which DOTD hopes to complete within a year.
The artery will also get additional traffic upon the opening of the community college adjacent to the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technical Center.