Iberville Parish president says widening La. 30 no easy task
Plans for widening La. 30 through St. Gabriel may eventually come to fruition, but the project will not be short or easy, according to Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso.
Ourso and St. Gabriel Mayor Lionel Johnson Jr. recently met with the construction company Michael Baker International for initial talks about the project.
Ourso said he and Johnson both have concerns about the obstacles to bring the project to fruition.
“It certainly won’t happen overnight,” Ourso said. “When you look at La. 30 going to EBR line, always remember there is a Canadian National Railroad on the right side of the road, and then you also have pipelines.”
Relocation of a railroad track is not feasible, nor is the rerouting of pipelines already in place.
“I have some grave concerns,” the parish president said. “I’m all for the four-laning of La. 30, but it has some challenges, and I want to see it through.”
Project designers will not have many options, which will likely lead to a widening on the east side of La. 30, he said.
“The railroad isn’t going anywhere – it was there first,” he said. “They’re getting the ball rolling, which I’m glad to see, because eventually we will be talking about a bridge in that area.”
The La. 30 corridor has seen a large influx of additional traffic in recent years, particularly with the population growth both on the east side of Iberville Parish and particularly Ascension, where the influx of new residents has made it the fastest growing parish in the state, according to the 2020 census.
It has also become an alternate route for many commuters who look for ways to dodge traffic that clogs Interstate 10 for hours, according to Johnson.
“All I have to do is look at the traffic on La. 30 to see if there’s been a wreck on the interstate,” he said. “It’s either that or traffic for an LSU home game in the fall.”
The widening is also on the wish list for the Ascension Parish Government, but Clint Cointment also said it would take time to bring such a project to fruition.