Plans move forward to turn portion of Johnston St. into boulevard

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LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – Things are moving along for the Johnston St. project as city officials move one step closer to making a one mile stretch of the roadway a lot safer.

From Cajundome Blvd. to just past the Horse Farm along Johnston St. is an area that has been talked about for proposed changes for sometime now.

“We probably four or five years ago started looking at what could we do within the existing right of way,” said Melanie Bordelon, Manager of the Acadiana Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Bordelon says they started by looking at the crash rate along the segment, which she says is very high.

The crash rate along the segment is almost five times the state average, and at the intersection of S. College and Johnston it’s almost two times the state average,” said Bordelon.

Bordelon says that brought them to discussing proposed changes to the one mile stretch for the safety of drivers.

“A lot of these crashes we feel like can be reduced by installing a median, where you don’t have as many left turns onto and off of Johnston St. It will help reduce what’s called the conflict points,” said Bordelon.

In addition to the median, Bordelon says they will also widen sidewalks and bury utility lines, however, she says this is a project that’s still in the discussion stage because they’re looking at different avenues of funding.

“A third of it will be safety funding through DOTD, there’s money for access management, and the last third of the project is funds through the Metropolitan Planning Organization,” said Bordelon.

Bordelon says they’ve already done studies to make sure the proposed changes wouldn’t impact traffic in the area, which she says would operate at the same pace.

Bordelon says since the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ has been signed, the next step will be the environmental and design phases.

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