GONZALES — City officials are a few weeks away from unveiling a comprehensive transportation improvement plan that includes upgrades to many of Gonzales’ major roads.
Glenn Shaheen, a consultant and engineer working on the transportation plan, called The Go Program, presented a preliminary report to the City Council on Monday that featured 22 projects that would cost a total of more than $100 million.
Shaheen stressed that the plan simply was a draft, pending review by the council and community meetings that will be scheduled in the near future.
“We’ve still got some work to do,” Shaheen said.
Three of the biggest Go Program projects are a $23 million upgrade to Loop Road (from South Hodgeson Avenue to La. 30), a $13 million La. 30 project between South Commerce and South Purpera avenues and an $11 million improvement to La. 44 from Spartan Stadium to La. 30.
Council members said while they are looking forward to receiving input from the public, their top priority is La. 30. Councilman Kenny Matassa said he’d like to see that highway as the start of the project.
“(La.) 30 needs to be our main concern,” Councilman Kirk Boudreaux said.
Shaheen said there’s no way the city can do all the road projects using only local tax dollars, but he’s hopeful the city can leverage local dollars along with state and federal money — and possibly investment from local businesses — to stretch the city’s dollars as far as possible.
Shaheen added that The Go Program is a long-range plan, not something that can be accomplished in just a couple of years.
Because of the length of time — two decades or longer — needed to complete the plan, Councilman John Cagnalotti said, the program’s vision and direction could change over the years.
“The priorities may change in 10 years,” he said. “We just need to plan smartly.”