Council backs turn lane

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2008

LAPLACE — The St. John Parish Council voted unanimously to support the St. John School Board’s request to the State of Louisiana for the installation of a turning lane on River Road in front of the newly constructed, but not yet opened, Emily C. Watkins Elementary School.

The request for support came from Superintendent Dr. Courtney Millet, who asked the parish lend its weight to the funding request from the Department of Transportation and Development in an effort to speed up the project.

When it opens for classes in August 2009, the school will serve 800 students who will have to be transported to school by the public bus system. The buses will be using River Road as the only entrance, and the two-lane highway does not make turning into or out of the school safe for the students. The stretch of highway where the school is located is also frequented by large trucks traveling at high speeds on their way to the industry in the area.

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said the request is for $400,000 from the State of Louisiana to complete the improvements to establish the turn lane from LA Hwy 628 to the entrances of Emily C. Watkins Elementary School. The resolution will be forwarded to the St. John State Delegation for their support and consideration.

Boe said the turning lane was not included in the original design of the building and a traffic study completed and commissioned by the School Board confirmed the need for a turn lane on Hwy 628 at the site.

“I am happy to support this request and urge our delegation at the state level to support this vital turning lane for our kids,” Parish President Bill Hubbard said in a statement.