Central resident Lucky Ross said he’s been anxiously waiting for the Central Thruway for more than a decade, when it was first promoted by former Metro Councilman Joe Greco.
Ross said his parents live in the Millerville Road area and the new roadway will shorten his commute from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. He also has a business on Greenwell Springs Road that could get a boost of business with the new expressway connecting Baton Rouge to Central.
“It’s frustrating that it’s taken so long, but we’re getting there,” Ross said Monday night.
Ross was among about 20 Central residents who attended a meeting to learn about ongoing road and sewer work in their neighborhoods.
It was the latest of a series of meetings Mayor-President Kip Holden’s administration has been holding across the parish to answer questions and address local concerns about the city-parish’s two largest ongoing infrastructure projects — the $500 million Green Light Plan for roads and the $1.4 billion sewer improvement project.
The Central Thruway project mostly took the stage Monday evening at the Central Branch Library as Green Light Plan officials offered updates about the expressway, which is the cornerstone of the Green Light Plan. Holden administration officials say it is the largest road project ever undertaken by city-parish government.
Michael Songy, Green Light Plan project manager, said the section of Central Thruway from Florida Boulevard to Greenwell Springs Road should be opened by the first quarter of 2013. The section of the expressway from Greenwell Springs Road to Sullivan Road is expected to be finished by summer 2013, he said.
Sullivan Road eventually will be extended from where Central Thruway ends at Lovett Road north to Wax Road, but Songy stopped short of putting a deadline on that project.
He said construction on the Sullivan Road project will begin in the next couple weeks.
William Daniel, chief administrative officer for Holden, said the project is the jewel of the massive Green Light Plan and the best example of how the road plan provides connectivity across the parish.
“We’ll be able to get all the way from one side of the parish to the other,” Daniel said. “There’s a tremendous benefit to families, economic development and relieving congestion.”
Central City Councilman Wayne Messina said he’s eager for the roadway to open.
“I believe there will be a real economic boost to our city and more people are going to want to move out here,” he said. “I also think property values could go up.”
The Central Thruway, in addition to the extension of Sullivan Lane to Wax Road, has a combined price tag of about $85 million.
Debby Anderson said she’s ready for the expressway to be completed so she can have an easier drive to her daughter and grandson in Denham Springs.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Anderson said. “I’m looking forward to its completion.”