St. John’s Airline and Main Complete Streets Project seeks to revitalize area

Published 10:51 am Tuesday, October 24, 2023

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish is currently in the process of implementing The Airline and Main Complete Streets Project, which seeks to provide both green infrastructure and transportation improvements along both Airline Highway and Main Street in LaPlace. 

This project serves as a model of how the Parish can plan for a future of heightened flood risk in a low-risk area by incorporating stormwater management strategies into public infrastructure projects while providing residents with enhanced transportation options.

According to the parish website, “Once complete, the project will consist of streetscape improvements on a 1.6 mile stretch of Airline Highway between Tiffany Drive and Main Street and 0.3 miles of improvements along Main Street between Airline Highway and West 5th.”

The project’s core features encompass a comprehensive streetscape transformation, incorporating various elements such as green infrastructure installations designed to capture and filter stormwater runoff, sidewalks for pedestrian convenience, permeable parking surfaces, native plantings and dedicated bike lanes.

Tim Groom, the owner of Friends Safety Supply, a local business in the process of moving to a new location on Main Street, shared his thoughts on the project. 

“It’s been a lot, getting all the permits and everything. We had to go through the historic board,” Groom said. “It’s in a great location. It really is nice to be part of something that’s a good change, cleaning up the area, making it look nicer.”

Groom plans to have four murals on his new building as part of the project’s development. 

“I want to give back to St. John,” Groom said.

The murals are set to depict various facets of St. John, including local events like the Andouille Festival and the traditional bonfires, alongside a tribute to the servicemen and women, such as law enforcement. Furthermore, the murals will highlight the significance of construction and the refineries, paying homage to the region’s industry.

According to the parish website, the benefits of the project will include, “Reinvestment in commercial corridors; Alleviation of local drainage canals and pipes; Flood risk reduction; Improvements for pedestrian and cyclist safety; Water quality protection; Improved identity and sense of place.”

Funded with $6 million from the Office of Community Development (OCD), this project is part of a larger initiative to promote innovative concepts in resilience and hazard mitigation as part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition. Once completed, it will serve as a model for future infrastructure designs that encompass multiple objectives within a single project.

The projected completion date for the Airline and Main Complete Streets project is June 30, 2024. 

“The construction has almost reached substantial completion and we expect the landscaping to begin any day now,” said Parish President Hotard.