New Highways and Infrastructure
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Believe it or not, Louisiana was once known for roads. Airline Highway at a moment in history was the only four lane highway to travel more than 100 miles and have zero tolls required for use. Huey P. Long proudly built roads across this state for the people. Louisiana once believed that roads would be the only way to take Louisiana out of the old poverty state and excel the state to the success the people demand. Anyone who thinks it did not work may need a refresher in Louisiana's growth rates. The programs placed by the administrations from Long and up gave Louisiana new roads, bridges, rails, ports, and even public transportation. In the 1940's and 1950's the industrial corridor along the river quickly came to the parish of East Baton Rouge and down to the mouth of the river.
Airline was not built by going down local roads and moving the servitudes back and placing additional lanes. It was a straight line drawn across a map from Baton Rouge down to New Orleans. It went through farms and dairies, woods and swamps. They had to relocate buildings and move in a little closer to businesses. It was to be a high speed corridor to connect the two cities. It was a success. The question is why do we not do these projects in today's world?
Alone in Ascension Parish, we are spending 35 million dollars to widen a 3.2 mile stretch of roadway. We are placing a road in the front doors of our neighbors homes and businesses; a project that is decade plus behind schedule. This project is important to the community, but looking at alternatives so that the safety cost to rehabilitate this one roadway could be minimized and save the people some money would have been a great goal. To top the delay of the state to begin the project, the state required the parish to place wastewater pipes in the ground before the state would move the first scoop of dirt.
How about we develop new ideas of how to move traffic.
Build new roads crossing the parishes and connecting the communities quickly. Ascension, Livingston and EBR.
Build two bridges to connect the state, both between the Interstate Bridge and the Sunshine Bridge.
Build bridges all across the state crossing bayous and rivers that place a stop to easy connections.
Cross the swamps with elevated scenic routes to showcase our beautiful lands. Maurepas Swamp and Bluff Swamp
Build Traffic Circles and J Turns to limit the need for traffic signals.
Work with school systems to not place facilities on major corridors.
Limit access to High Speed highways such as Airline, La. 1, U.S. 190, U.S. 90.
Build service roads along the interstates and high speed highways to remove local traffic.
Infrastructure is not only roadways.
In Louisiana almost every waterway has the opportunity for a boat to try and ride, even if that ole boy should know better. The fact is that the majority of our waterways are able to be used for boating and fishing. However, as the new generations have became less likely to put in the little bayou to get to the lake, we have forgot to keep the maintenance of these very vital waterways.
In 2016, we suffered two large floods that took out most of the southeastern section of the state, one in March and the other in August. Many sections of the Florida parishes suffered in March, the rest between the river and over got hit in August, and some received damages in both events. Out of all the destruction and lives ruined, we had to listen to our representatives talk about the 30 year old planned Comite Diversion Canal. A project funded by the people for decades. The only thing to show for it is some concrete and dirt movement for the flood waters. The downfall is that the Comite Diversion would have help very little in 2016. Where are the real solutions? We need the Comite Diversion, but it is not the answer. We need MORE. We need the Army Corp of Engineers to step aside and we need to clean out the bayous, dredge our rivers, use our swamps for storage, and bring the Mississippi River back into out watersheds. Pump it across when needed, both ways. When we are low and need some water in the bayous we need to fill our swamps and let the water get to the bayous and rivers; but when we need to get the water out, we need to be able to pump it across in different areas of the state. There is no one area, that river made this land, without it we will lose every bit of the land.
Water is bigger than the local rivers and bayous though. We need to look at the ports up and down the river. Where do we need to build new ports, new centers of river commerce? The Intracoastal Canal systems could use an update. There are areas that would greatly benefit from access to large vessel navigable waterways. Imagine the ability to access the Florida Parishes and Interstate 12 with barge traffic. The economic impact would bring many jobs to the region. The idea of crossing the Maurepas Swamp to the lake from the river would be a short cut for many boats that do not need to travel to New Orleans.
Infrastructure is more than water too.
The railways across the state are all privately owned but are in place thanks to eminent domain policies of our past generations. Looking at the lines, you can see not much is different now from the day the lines were laid. Our railways need to be upgraded by the companies managing the lines. Rail has been the greatest achievement for land travel and commerce that mankind has ever built. The ability to move extreme weights and loads across the country relatively quick with limited disturbance to other infrastructure is a method we need to encourage. We need to see our railroads get improved, making them safer for higher speeds, safer for passenger travel, safer for crossing infrastructure, and safer for neighbors along the paths. The idea of using the rail ways for travel between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is not a task that may ever come to light, but having the ability to use our rails to move folks from city to city should be a goal.