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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Parish transportation plan still in early stage

Parish transportation plan still in early stage

The Lafourche Parish Transportation Plan is still in its “draft” stage, requiring a specific set of action items, but the plan is essentially complete as it was unveiled at Thursday’s public Planning Commission meeting in Mathews.

Prepared by the South Central Planning and Development Commission (SCPDC) and funded by Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Lafourche Parish Government, the plan’s goal is to identify “multi-modal” transportation projects, look for funding sources and develop a recommended action plan in a 20-year outlook.

SCPDC’s Joshua Manning gave a plan update to the Planning Commission at the Mathews Government Complex.

Lafourche Parish’s Comprehensive Resiliency Plan, adopted in 2014, called for the creation of a parish-wide master transportation plan which includes all of the parish’s incorporated and unincorporated areas.

Parish government has deemed the transportation plan as essential because transportation demands continue to grow in the region while federal and state dollars toward infrastructure projects continue to shrink.

As the latest census data shows, in Lafourche Parish 2.3% of workers aged 16 and older have no vehicle available to them. Consequentially, the plan also incorporated a transit feasibility study as well as a bicycle and pedestrian study.

To gather information for the plan, SCPDC used various forms of data collection including workshops, public meetings, consultations, online forms, emails and phone calls to get feedback on the public’s transportation needs.

Additional bridges over Bayou Lafourche and better connections to New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Fourchon as well as a loop around the city of Thibodaux are identified as major infrastructure projects.

Other projects include widening and straightening of Hwy. 308, shouldering on many highways and roads in the parish and more turn lanes and bike lanes.

Manning said that the Planning Commission should consider adopting the plan by creating “a process to help apply identified projects.”

“How it will work is now up to the Planning Commission and the Council,” he said.

Parish Senior Planner Jeffrey Leuenberger noted that the Planning Commission should open a 30-day public comment period, followed by a presentation at a future Parish Council public meeting.

“The Council holds the purse strings. But when funding comes around, we will have a list of projects with a 5, 10 and 20 year action plan for them to include in the budget process,” he said.

The complete 211-page plan can be seen at