$14M Johnston St. construction project delayed; outside lanes remained closed

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LAFAYETTE, LA — Construction set to begin Wednesday on a busy section of Johnston Street has been pushed back due to rain, but businesses are already being affected.

The Department of Transportation and Development closed the outside lanes of US 167 from Maurice to Broussard Road about a month ago. Construction of new turning opportunities should be finished by July 15.

It is the least traveled section of a $14.1M project. While later sections will see a lane closure only at night, people one this three-mile stretch of road are experiencing lane closures 24-7 for at least the next four months.

It’s business, as usual, inside South-End Country Mart off US 167 Southbound, but lane closures outside are slowing things down.

“Today is very slow”, said cashier Chanter Broussard. “Usually there’s both of us working a register.”

She is looking forward to when construction speeds up the section of road connecting Lafayette to Maurice but until then DOTD District 3 Engineer Administrator Bill Oliver Jr. admitted, “You’re going to have some traffic impacts. You will have people who reroute to other routes.”

The first section of the $14.1M construction project will build turn lanes and J-turns from Maurice to Broussard Rd. Section two will follow immediately after to Southcity Parkway ending with the Ambassador Caffery connection in the final phase.

The complete project is projected to finish in the spring or summer of 2022.

“It’s going to increase safety and capacity”, explained Broussard. “It’s going to help traffic flow through there much better because you remove phases out of the signal, so you get better traffic flows which also improves safety.”

With an inside lane closure following work on the outside lane, businesses being sidelined hope the wait is worth it.

“It will make traffic smoother, but hopefully people won’t be won’t be slowing down like when they are trying to look at something else”, Broussard said. “It will hopefully make it flow faster to where they can get in and out.”

The Department of Transportation and Development already has its eyes on the next site they’d like to give the same treatment. Oliver named Highway 190 East of Eunice.

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