DOTD, elected officials celebrate Arkansas Road widening & roundabouts project in Ouachita Parish
Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 2:38:53 PM

DOTD, elected officials celebrate Arkansas Road widening & roundabouts project in Ouachita Parish

MONROE, La. – Today, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Dr. Shawn D. Wilson celebrated the Arkansas Road (LA 616) project, along with numerous elected officials, with a ribbon cutting ceremony in West Monroe, Ouachita Parish.

“This is truly the culmination of decades of tenacity and dedication toward securing funding, pushing to keep the project on track during the development process, and managing major construction components over the last five years,” Secretary Wilson said. “I must extend my appreciation to Governor Edwards for his steadfast support of all manner of investments in our infrastructure system, this project being a prime example.”

The $34 million project transformed the landscape of the busy corridor, vastly increasing vehicle capacity, alleviating prior congestion issues and enhancing safety.

Arkansas Road Widening & Roundabouts Project ribbon cutting ceremony

in West Monroe, Ouachita Parish. (Photo source: DOTD)

A little over three miles of Arkansas Road from LA 143 (N. 7th Street) to Caldwell Road was widened from two lanes to five lanes, adding a continuous center left-turn lane. These types of two-way left turn lanes have been shown to reduce the potential for rear-end, head-on and turning related crashes.

“Although it has taken a little getting used to the improvements to Arkansas Road have made a significant improvement in traffic in West Monroe and western Ouachita Parish,” added Senator Jay Morris (R-District 35).

Innovative in its design, the project included the replacement of four traditionally signalized intersections with roundabouts, eliminating the stop-and-go congestion associated with traffic signals. Roundabouts allow for the continuous flow of traffic and significant reduction in the potential for severe crashes.

“On behalf of the thousands of motorists who drive daily on Arkansas Road, I want to thank Governor John Bel Edwards, DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn D. Wilson, and the local DOTD office for committing $34 million to this project,” said Rep. Pat Moore (D-District 17). “Having efficiency of traffic flow for both motorists and pedestrians matters to our parish residents. I look forward to DOTD finishing other projects in Ouachita Parish.”

“I would like to thank the community for its power to persevere through the inconvenience of the state DOTD highway widening and roundabout placements over the past three years,” said Rep. Foy Gadberry (R-District 15). “It’s a memory with value we can now appreciate. As Dr. Seuss said, ‘Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’”

The project also incorporated DOTD’s Complete Streets Policy to construct sidewalks throughout the length of project corridor. This policy balances access, mobility, health and safety needs of all types of road users of the state’s transportation system.

“We are thrilled with the completion of the Arkansas Road widening project,” said West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell. “This significant road improvement project is important to the City of West Monroe as it is a major corridor in the city limits. Thank you to the LA Department of Transportation and Development and our state legislative delegation for funding this project.”

The contractor for the project, Gilchrist Construction Co., is wrapping up final work items along the route, though all major construction components are complete.

Two of the four roundabouts were opened to traffic in September 2019. A third roundabout was opened to traffic in July 2020. The fourth roundabout, located at Forty Oaks Farm Road, was fully opened to traffic in April 2021.