Berthelot: DOTD gets look at WBR’s proposed connector project

West Baton Rouge Parish Council President Riley “Peewee” Berthelot told the Parish Council on Thursday he believes the parish’s video presentation to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development about the need to connect La. 1 to La. 415 was received favorably.

“The DOTD chose our project as one to be considered for the mega-fund. Those projects are too big for DOTD’s normal budget,” Berthelot said. “We won’t know what they can do for a while and they probably don’t have any funds for any of the projects, but if some money comes available, our project is out there.

“The response we got from the people who rank these things indicated to us that we had a really good project.”

The 4-mile project is called the I-10/La. 1 Connector. Cost of the road has been estimated at $130 million.

The video featured presentations from the Port of Baton Rouge, Dow Chemical, Acadian Ambulance and the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce. All reiterated the need for an alternate route to alleviate traffic congestion and help out in emergency situations.

Traffic on La. 1 frequently is heavily congested as it is the only route in the parish that can move traffic to the north or south.

In a related matter, the council voted to enter into a cooperative endeavor with American Transportation Partners to examine alternate methods of funding the I-10/La. 1 Connector. Berthelot said American Transportation wanted a two-year agreement, but the council, on Berthelot’s recommendation, limited the contract to one year.

Other business included:

FIRE PROTECTION: The council approved a measure that would temporarily restore fire protection authority to fire protection subdistricts in Addis, Brusly and Port Allen until the final fire protection consolidation plan is completed.

The state Legislature approved a plan to create a single parishwide fire protection district during the last legislative session. Parish Council Chairman Gary Spillman said the consolidation of the fire districts is being worked out.

ZONING CHANGE: The council approved a zoning change for a 6-acre tract along Rosedale Road, also known as La. 76, from commercial to residential single family.