End-of-month opening targeted for levee recreation trail

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Having just completed a remodeling job in her home in Reserve, St. John the Baptist Parish Councilwoman Julia Remondet knows all about construction delays.

So she wasn’t all that surprised when the completion date of the much-anticipated Mississippi River Trail/Bike Path was pushed back from Dec. 1 to the end of January.

“You see them working on it,” Remondet said. “I guess anything you’re doing in segments like that, you’re going to have delays.”

St. John Communications Director Baileigh Rebowe Helm said the project encountered unforeseen mishaps, including a batch of construction materials that were ruined by the heavy rains that fell in August.

“When the project started, the burrow pits (which hold materials) were completely flooded, which cost some time,” Helm said. “That caused the extension of time on the project.”

The bike path being built by Barber Brothers Constructing at an estimated cost of $1,417,812 will consist of a 10-foot wide asphalt strip along the levee. Some portions of the path were moved from atop the levee to alongside it to allow for the annual building of Christmas bonfires.

The state’s Transportation Alternatives Program is funding 80 percent of the cost of the project, with St. John pitching in the remaining 20 percent. When completed, the path will run from East 29th Street to West 10th Street (Louisiana 637) and will be open to pedestrians as well as bike riders.

“I’ve been watching them every day because I’m really looking forward to it,” Remondet said. “It’s exciting to see it at the stage it is now.”

Also under construction in St. John Parish is a bike path in Garyville, which will extend from River Road to Airline Highway and another in Lucy, said Michael W. Domingue, Recreational Trails Administrator for Louisiana.

Domingue said the Garyville bike path will stretch from River Road through the historic district and a wooded area to Airline Highway. It is expected to be completed April 30.

The Lucy path will be built atop the levee as much as it can be.

“We always have to go down the levee in some spots,” Domingue said.

Both are being funded by a federal grant paid for by gasoline taxes.

“It’s moving right along,” Domingue said.

— By Lori Lyons