Clearing the way

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2012



LAPLACE – Less than six months after completion of the first phase of a multi-phase, multi-use trail atop the east bank Mississippi River levee in St. John the Baptist Parish, officials say construction is about halfway complete on phase two of the project.

St. John Parish spokesperson Paige Braud, said contractors with Barriere Construction have laid asphalt along most of the 2.84 miles of levee that comprise the second phase, which stretches from Walnut Street in LaPlace to Our Lady of Grace Church in Reserve. She said crews have also been working this week to smooth out two portions of the trail that drop down off the crown of the levee and under pipes and bridges that run from various industrial plants along River Road over the levee to the river.

Braud said phase two also includes an entry and exit ramp between River Road and the trail. The ramp drops down at East 29th Street just past the church. Braud said the design for phase one, which extends from Walnut Street east to the parish line where it connects with an existing path in St. Charles, did not include an entry ramp.

The path project, which currently includes three phases through St. John Parish, is funded through the state Department of Transportation and Development’s Recreational Trails Program. Barriere Construction was awarded a $411,000 contract for phase one and a roughly $900,000 contract for phase two. Braud said the parish is responsible for 5 percent of the project’s total cost. The parish has paid roughly $65,000 for the trail.

Braud said the work on phase two is scheduled to be complete by the end of April. She said phase three, which would extend the trail to about West 10th Street, is in the design phase and should be ready to begin in 2013.

The multi use trail will eventually be part of a state proposed 110-mile levee path running continuously from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. The St. John Parish portion will eventually link up with an existing 23-mile levee path in St. Charles Parish that extends downriver from New Sarpy to Audubon Park in New Orleans.