ASCENSION PARISH, LA (FOX44) — Department of Transportation and Development officials announced a plan widen LA 42. The highway would grow from two lanes to four. The widening would occur on a 3.7 mile long stretch of the highway between Airline Highway and LA 44.
"Widening this corridor will provide a safer smoother flow of traffic for residents in the area and will improve the move of goods along the route," Sherri Lebas, Sec. DOTD, said.
People like Loretta Templet spent years asking officials to help make the road safer.
"I've been fighting this for 19 years 7 months and 5 days. It's important because i want this highway to be safe for other travelers Hopefully no more deaths," She said.
Templet's daughter, nephew and a family friend died in a car crash on Highway 42 in 1994. Finally with this plan in place she can put her fight to rest..
"That my kids didn't die in vain," Templet said.
Area lawmakers said they've waited years to see this project come to fruition too. Now they're hoping it will change the image of the busy road.
"We've always heard it's the deadliest highway in the state, so hopefully we get a new name so this is going to be the safest highway highway 42," Dempsey Lambert, Ascension Parish Council Member, said.
Highway 42 is a traffic trouble spot according to people living along the road.
"It's bad bumper to bumper at 7 o'clock in the morning and at 6 o'clock in the evening," Eddie Noland, property owner on LA 42, said. "If they have any problem on the interstate people cut through here it's even worse."
"More than 22 thousand motorist travel LA 42 from US 61 to LA 44 each day," Lebas said.
People living on the highway have mixed feelings about the plan.
"Oh my God I think it's great. Great, I love it. I can't wait," Paulette Lemon, who lives on the highway, said.
"It will help all the way to 44 then it's going to be congestion again," Noland said.
The new plan also calls for adding sidewalk and bike path
"That's the best part," said Lemon.
Some homeowners say with a bigger road comes more problems.
"A lot of people with their carport on the front (are) going to have trouble getting in and out," Noland said.
Phase one of the project to clear land and do sewer work is expected to wrap up this winter.
Phase two construction on the roadway itself is set to start this fall and should wrap up by summer 2016.