DOTD provides update on street lighting project for US 165 in the Town of Richwood, Ouachita Parish
Monday, March 01, 2021 at 11:42:27 AM

DOTD provides update on street lighting project for US 165 in the Town of Richwood, Ouachita Parish

MONROE – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announces that funding is secured and development is moving forward for the project to install street lighting on US 165 in the Town of Richwood, Ouachita Parish.

The estimated $2.2 million project is currently in the design phase, a necessary and critical component of ensuring the final product best meets the needs of the community.

“We’re are deeply saddened and concerned about the recent crashes that have claimed the lives of pedestrians along this highway. One fatal crash on our roadways is one too many, and I will continue to advance policies along with the Louisiana State Police and Highway Safety Commission that places the highest priority on safety,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “We understand the need for this lighting system, and are pleased to utilize highway safety funding provided by the federal government to move projects like this one forward. Partnership on all governmental levels is key in ensuring progress is made in keeping our motorists and pedestrians safe. Safety is shared responsibility among all of us on our roadways.”

A new street lighting system will be constructed on US 165 from LA 15 (Winnsboro Road) to just south of Cotton Bayou Lane, a little over 3.5 miles of roadway. The project is possible through the creation of a lighting district approved by voters in 2019, which allowed funding to be put in place for future maintenance of the system, to be owned by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.

Currently, the project is scheduled to go to bid in May 2022, though these dates can fluctuate depending on several factors.

In the meantime, DOTD is implementing some interim safety measures along the corridor. Digital message boards are currently on display in both the northbound and southbound lanes of US 165 near the project limits warning motorists that pedestrians are in the area. Additionally, flashing warning signs will be added soon to further alert drivers of the possible presence of pedestrians.

DOTD will also be re-analyzing the speed limit along this section of US 165 to determine if any changes need to be made based on the results of a traffic study.

“I share the concerns of the danger that this area poses and am thankful that DOTD has put some temporary safety measures in place until project is complete. In 2018, former Rep. Marcus Hunter secured this funding working with DOTD,” added Sen. Katrina Jackson (D-District 34). “I am immensely grateful for the mayor, aldermen, and citizens of Richwood who stood up and voted in November 2019 to bear the cost of future maintenance after the project is complete. This is much needed for the safety of our people. Although it’s disappointing that it has taken so long, I understand the process and look forward to this project being complete.”

“I want to thank LA DOTD for funding this project and the Town of Richwood residents for creating a road lighting district to maintaining the lights. Special thanks to all entities that helped with this project. It’s about all of us working together to save lives,” said Rep. Pat Moore (D-District 17).

“This project will be key in ensuring the safety of motorists and pedestrians while traveling along this section of US 165 South. It is exciting to see the cooperation and partnership from local and state officials and all those involved to get this project and the subsequent funding approved,” said Mayor Gerald Brown of the Town of Richwood. “We also want to thank the Board of Aldermen and the citizens of the Town of Richwood for their commitment to creating a safer environment.”

The goal of the new lighting system is to improve safety and help reduce nighttime crashes, especially those involving pedestrians.

DOTD urges both motorists and pedestrians to use extreme caution when traveling, and reminds all roadway users of the following safety tips:
  • Follow the rules of the road, and obey signs and signals, including speed limit postings.
  • Stay alert and avoid distractions such as electronic devices.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking or driving, as these impair physical abilities and judgement.
  • Drivers should scan for pedestrians near intersections, particularly in heavily commercial corridors and at night when they may be harder to detect in peripheral vision.
  • Ensure all vehicle head and tail lights are bright, in good working order, and in use during weather events and from sunset to sunrise.
  • Walk on sidewalks if available. If no sidewalks are available, walk facing traffic and as far as away from vehicles as possible.
  • When possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections where drivers expect to see pedestrians. Look in both directions.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is unavailable, wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with motorists to ensure you’re seen.
  • Be visible at all times – wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials/flashlight at night.