Zachary gets land donation for bypass route

A Baton Rouge company donated a little more than 4 acres of land Thursday to the city for a new bypass road the mayor and City Council want to build between La. 19 and La. 64.

The decision by Barogon Properties LLC was an easy one to make, said Nick FaKouri, the company manager.

The new road will enhance the value of the remaining 43 acres by opening up new road frontage, FaKouri said.

“We’re trying to get some of the traffic off (La.) 64, Main Street,” said Mayor David Amrhein, who estimated the road may cost $5 million to build.

“It also will open up more land to commercial development. We live off sales taxes,” the mayor added.

City Attorney John Hopewell said he is working to obtain donations of four more parcels to complete the route.

He said he hopes the donations will be in hand by the end of September to allow the City Council to begin advertising for construction bids.

“One of the tracts is about the size of the council (meeting) table,” Hopewell said.

FaKouri’s firm also granted a temporary construction servitude of 20 feet along each side of the route through its property.

About 400 feet of the road will extend through vacant property the city has owned for years.

The west end of the new street, which has not been named, will intersect La. 19 north of the Family Dollar store and will extend through the former site of a pallet manufacturing plant, Amrhein said.

From there, the road will run east, with a branch forking south to link up with a short road already built to La. 64 between Raising Cane’s restaurant and a convenience store that sells Murphy Oil Co. gasoline.

The main boulevard will continue east, giving drivers access to the back of the Wal-Mart property and another shopping center, and curve south to end at La. 64 at McHugh Road, Amrhein said.

The road could be completed by next summer, he said.

“It’ll be easy to build. There’s nothing to move,” Amrhein said, referring to utility lines.

FaKouri said the company bought 45 acres of the Montegudo tract, which fronted on Old Slaughter Road and also on La. 64.

The company sold the La. 64 frontage in small parcels, then tried to interest a “big box” store in the remainder of the acreage before the economy soured.

“The roadway will open it up to smaller users,” FaKouri said.

The company also considered building a residential development on the remaining property, but the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission rejected the concept, he said.

The city is selling $10 million in bonds for several road construction projects and also will have about $5 million in cash available by the time the road is finished, Amrhein said.

The mayor said the state has the option of widening La. 19 to four lanes between Church and Sunset streets.