N.O. Briefs for May 19, 2013

U.S. 190 widening begins in Mandeville

The state highway department is starting work on an $11.3 million project to widen a 1.2-mile stretch pf U.S. 190 in Mandeville from two lanes to four.

A ceremonial ground-breaking was held last week at Mandeville City Hall. Allison Schilling, a district administrator for the state Department of Transportation and Development, represented the agency.

She said the project will improve a vital corridor that also feeds principal hurricane evacuation routes.

Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere said 20,000 cars go through the area on a daily basis.

The road widening runs from La. 3228, or Asbury Drive, to Lonesome Road, the DOTD said in a news release. The work will include a raised, divided median and improvements to traffic signals, ditches and sidewalks. An existing two-lane bridge over Bayou Chinchuba will be replaced by two new bridge spans, each with two lanes.

The work is being funded by $9.3 million in federal money and $2.3 million in 2008 surplus funds, according to the DOTD. Command Construction Industries has the contract, and the work is expected to wrap up next spring.

Foundation awards advocacy group

Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, a juvenile justice advocacy group, received a $100,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.

The group will get $50,000 this year and another $50,000 next year.

Gina Womack, the group’s executive director, said in a news release that the support from The Kellogg Foundation validates the work her organization does. That includes a campaign to train parents and guardians how to advocate for children and create safe schools.

Commissioner sets town hall forums

Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta will hold a town hall meeting in St. Bernard Parish from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 30 at the St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers.

Skrmetta and his staff will answer questions and listen to any concerns about utility companies operating in the area.

Skrmetta holds monthly town hall meetings, rotating throughout the parishes he represents in District 1.

Agencies ramp up seat belt program

The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office will participate in the Click It or Ticket campaign to boost seat belt use with funds from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

The Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies will step up enforcement of seat belt law for two weeks, beginning Mon-
day and running through June 2.

Sheriff Lonnie Greco said deputies will increase pa-
trols that focus on seat belt violations during the campaign.

“One of the saddest duties performed by law enforcement officers across the country is having to notify parents, spouses and other relatives that their loved one was killed in a crash,” Sheriff Greco said. “That sadness is compounded when the officers are aware that the victim might have been saved if he or she had been buckled up.”

Compiled by the
New Orleans bureau