BATON ROUGE, LA — City-Parish Department of Public Works and Green Light Plan officials announced today that due to heavy rainfall and adverse weather conditions caused by Hurricane Isaac, construction requiring the current left-turn restrictions at the O’Neal Lane and South Harrell’s Ferry Road intersection will continue until October 1, at which point work at the intersection will enter the next phase of construction (Phase 2). Plans initially called for this phase, the first of four phases of work to take place at the intersection, to be complete by September 6.
Northbound and southbound left-turn movements from O’Neal Lane onto South Harrell’s Ferry Road have been restricted since July 16. The left-turn restrictions and subsequent work at the intersection are necessary in order for crews to widen the intersection as part of the work included within the Green Light Plan’s Southeast Area Group project.
Recent inclement weather has delayed portions of this phase of work, including multiple concrete pours and new sewer force main installation, required to be completed before crews can progress to the next phase of construction at the intersection. At this time, construction continues along the northwest and northeast corners of the intersection, along with work on southbound O’Neal Lane lanes. Green Light Plan officials continue to meet with construction crews on a weekly basis to review completed work and discuss work plans for the weeks ahead in order to manage the contractor’s activity and ensure maximum utilization of contractor resources and equipment.
In addition, City-Parish officials have arranged for East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputies to be present at The Runnels School and St. Jean Vianney Catholic School daily from 7–9 a.m. and from 2–4 p.m. in order to help expedite traffic through the intersection during periods of heavy traffic volume.
Initial project construction plans called for the restrictions of left-turn movement to remain in place for six months, weather permitting. Since announcing initial closure plans, Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden, District 9 Councilmember Joel Boé, the Department of Public Works, and Green Light Plan officials have continued to work with project engineers, construction crews, and community representatives to adjust work plan elements in order to expedite construction where possible and complete the work that requires lane closures at the intersection area.
As a result of this additional review and subsequent work plan adjustments, City-Parish officials announced a revised construction schedule on July 30 designed to accommodate access points required by schools, churches, and businesses near the construction area while expediting construction at the intersection to the greatest extent possible. This revised schedule is accessible at the Green Light Plan website, www.brgov.com/greenlight.
Upon completion of this phase of construction, crews will move to the next phase of construction at the intersection, which will require the full closure of the south leg of O’Neal Lane and left-turn restrictions for motorists traveling along southbound O’Neal Lane, eastbound South Harrell’s Ferry Road, and westbound South Harrell’s Ferry Road. This phase of construction is anticipated to last 48 calendar days from the completion of the current phase of work, weather permitting.
Officials strongly urge motorists to plan on utilizing recommended detour routes for the duration of construction at the O’Neal Lane and South Harrell’s Ferry Road intersection, with detour routes accessible in both visual and narrative format on the Green Light Plan website. For this next phase of construction, officials recommend motorists use Jones Creek Road and George O’Neal Road as primary detours.
Message signs warning of the closure are currently and will remain posted on O’Neal Lane in both directions approaching the intersection area, and motorists should exercise extreme caution when traveling in the vicinity. Travel times may be affected, and motorists are encouraged to factor in potential delays when using detour routes during the closure period.
Work on the Southeast Area Group project began in September 2009. As one of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of the City-Parish to reach construction, the project consists of the three separate projects located in southeast Baton Rouge: South Harrell’s Ferry Road – Segment 2, O’Neal Lane (LA 3245) Improvements – Segment 1, and O’Neal Lane Improvements – Earthwork Phase.