Update: CPC approves Saloom widening

by Walter Pierce

The $23-25 million project could commence soon, pending a Tuesday vote by the CPC.

[Editor's Note: The City-Parish Council on Tuesday voted to declare the Kaliste Saloom Road widening project a public necessity.]

Although completion of the widening of Kaliste Saloom Road between Ambassador Caffery Parkway and E. Broussard Road is four to five years away, the process of negotiating with landowners to acquire rights of way will begin soon, pending a vote on an ordinance for final adoption Tuesday evening by the City-Parish Council. The CPC voted unanimously on the ordinance in introduction on Aug. 3.

Ordinance 180 declares the project a public necessity, giving Lafayette Consolidated Government clearance to negotiate purchase of rights of way or acquisition through expropriation.

Public Works Director Tom Carroll says the preliminary plan for the road is a five-lane - four traffic lanes with a continuous center turn lane. However, Carroll adds that planners are considering incorporating a boulevard design in stretches of Kaliste Saloom. "We have had some internal meetings recently where we're looking at the potential - not necessarily to change the design - but actually see if there were some areas where we could incorporate a grass median and still have all the access they had with our so-called five-lane."

The project is expected to cost $23 million to $25 million, according to Carroll, who adds that the boulevard design shouldn't affect the cost - the median would be the same width as the turn lane - but would make the road more safe and efficient. "It may not be as convenient where you can make turns anywhere when you have that center turn lane, but it is a safer roadway and it is a more efficient roadway." Carroll adds. "You have opportunities to control access to where you can make it more efficient, and you do have opportunities to provide some esthetics where you can have some landscaping in the middle."

To view the Kaliste Saloom widening ordinance, click here.

Also up for final adoption Tuesday is an ordinance, 186, that authorizes LCG to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the state - and to accept $1 million in state funding - for the construction of an infrastructure including pipelines and fueling stations for vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. City-parish government is looking to purchase some CNG vehicles, which are more cost effective and emit fewer greenhouse emissions than gasoline or diesel, for its fleet.

The CPC meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the council auditorium.