Drivers look for relief in Watson Central area

Photo provided by staff.
Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 8:00pm

Drivers in Watson will get a chance to learn more about the DOTD's plan to help fix traffic between Watson and Central. The idea is to expand Hooper Road and look at adding a new cross over the Amite River. Watson drivers say it's a great idea.

"We don't have enough infrastructure to handle the amount of traffic," Fred Gerstein, Watson resident, stated. "I mean 20 years ago when I first moved here it was very much country, but that is no longer so."

Gerstein is one of many Watson residents who commute from Livingston Parish to their job. On a good day it takes Gerstein about 45 minutes to get home from work, but when traffic backs up it could take as long as an hour and a half.

It is very frustrating at times but it has gotten better. I mean it used to be way worse than that.

Gerstein said projects like the eye twelve expansion helped, but there is still a big traffic problem. He said the only way to cross between Central and Watson is to use Magnolia Bridge Road.

"This is a bedroom community the Watson area and all of that. Everybody works in Baton Rouge or around there," He said. "It's very much needed for us to have this extra bridge.

In a press release DOTD officials stated: "The Hooper Road Extension project is currently under study by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The proposed extension includes a widening of Hooper Road which begins in East Baton Rouge Parish in the City of Central at Sullivan Road (LA 3034) on the west and continues to Greenwell Springs Road (LA 37/64) on the east. The alternatives for a proposed extension cross the Amite River into Livingston Parish and ends either at LA 16 or LA 1019 on the east. The total length of the project is approximately 5.5 miles."

Gerstein wants the state to move forward with it's plan. He said, "We got enough area. You know open area. This is a rural part. They were talking about putting a bridge right down the street here maybe a half a mile and very much welcome very much."

There are two public meetings set up to discuss the proposed expansion. The first is Tuesday night at the
Central High School lecture theatre in Central. The second is Wednesday at Live Oak High School cafeteria in Watson. Both meetings start at 6:00p.m.


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