Livingston citizens group says Juban Road widening plans flawed

Plans for proposed widening of Juban Road north of Interstate 12 are flawed, a representative of a citizens group told the Livingston Parish Council on Thursday night.

The state highway department’s plans include three, four-lane roundabouts preceded by S-curves, said Wendell Pepper of Citizens for Highways and Infrastructure in Livingston Parish.

The design will cause major traffic backups once the extension of Juban Road from U.S. 190 to Lockhart Road is built because it doesn’t consider the planned extension of Juban Road, Pepper told the council.

Once that extension is built, Juban Road will become a major north-south thoroughfare and traffic is projected to jump from less than 7,000 vehicles a day to more than 20,000, he said.

But the roundabouts and S-curves will slow traffic so much that the road won’t be able to handle heavy commuter traffic, Pepper said.

The work on Juban North would have to be changed once the extension is built, he said.

The short extension has been pushed by many local officials as one of the most-needed road projects in the parish.

“Our problem is trying to move traffic north and south,” Council President Marshall Harris said. “The best way we can move traffic north and south is to build an extension to Lockhart.”

“It’s the best bang for our buck,” Councilman Ricky Goff said of the extension.

His motion to have the parish’s engineers look at what is happening on that project at the state Department of Transportation and Development passed unanimously.

Other items coming before the council included:

GARBAGE COLLECTION: Parish President Layton Ricks told the council that he will lift a cease and desist order so that a small garbage collection company can continue to operate its truck for 60 days while changes to a parish ordinance are worked out.

Ricks said the order was issued “to get everybody to the table” to work out changes in the current ordinance.

Livingston Waste has been doing a good job in the areas where it is working, but all companies operating in the parish have to abide by parish ordinance, he said.

The current ordinance is onerous, and the parish president has no choice but to enforce the ordinance that is in place, said Chris Moody, attorney for the council.

He expressed confidence that amendments can be made and said, “everybody will play by the same ordinance.”

Councilwoman Joan Landry said she wants to see garbage haulers in the parish provide the same price to customers all across the parish.

Harris said the council can’t legislate a single price because it doesn’t have an ordinance that requires all residents to pay for garbage pickup.