DOTD continues work on Government St. Road Diet project

BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - Drivers are noticing changes to their daily commute on Government Street.

In January, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development began work on the Government Street Road Diet project. The $11.7 million project stretches from East Boulevard to Lobdell Avenue. It will reduce the amount of lanes from four to three, one in each direction with a turn lane. Crews will also create bike lanes in each direction and improve the sidewalks.

Leaders shared details of the project during a news conference Wednesday. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said a primary cause for the project is to create a safer drive. He said, in a three year span, there were 800 crashes on the corridor.

"We believe this road diet will reduce the amount of crashes we have on this road by 20 percent," Wilson said.

While he emphasized safety, others talked to the potential economic growth the project could bring.

"I believe that it will attract more new businesses to this area further enhancing growth and development on Government Street," Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said.

Crews are working on the project in small increments at a time to try to make it as seamless as possible for drivers. While the construction will lead to some backup, proponents said it will be worth it in the long-run.

"It's going to have some growing pains as construction gets on, but when it's done, it's absolutely going to be worth it," Justin Lemoine with Mid-City Merchants said.

The project is scheduled to finish up in July 2019.

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