[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.
JUNE 16 This story in the Advocate tells us that the state Department of Education is taking a look at the Course Choice program. They're doing that because the legislature (probably responding to reporting by Tom Aswell, who does not work for the Advocate) ordered them to make sure that these private companies aren't signing six-year-olds up for high school Latin classes without their parents' knowledge or consent.
JUNE 17 Columnist James Gill writes about the recent complaint of death row inmates at Angola: it's hot as you-know-what in their cells, with the heat index topping 120 for months. Since we're not executing people anymore (Gill opines) then we should probably officially end the practice of putting people on death row. The prisoners, by the way, are not asking for cool breezes: they only ask for clean water and a temp that doesn't top 88.
JUNE 17 Here's blogger Ian McGibboney's take on the Baton Rouge plan to give bus tickets to homeless people who have a home with family who live far away. Taken from one point of view, it could be a good solution for some people. But McGibboney raises some good points here, including this one: Why not improve opportunities for everybody in Baton Rouge so these people can find the jobs they came to BR for?
JUNE 17 Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry talks here about the Zimmerman trial, but the real topic is the concept of a black man being more dangerous, somehow, than a white man in a fight. It is an interesting discussion, and one that may enlighten people who think that racism doesn't exist because nobody's keeping black folks from eating at the Woolworth lunch counter.
JUNE 17 Here's an interesting column from Baton Rouge Business Report's publisher, Rolfe McCollister, about anger against the government. It's brewing because of recent revelations about the IRS and the GSA, he says. It's readable, not just for the subject, but because of McCollister's collection of sources: Huffington Post, National Review and Wikipedia. That's a combo you don't see every day.
JUNE 17 In this American Press post, Jim Beam talks about the high school diploma track that lets kids who aren't interested in university get what they want and need out of high school. The diplomas get kids ready for technical school, Beam explains, and then he goes on to give some of the numbers. Some of these numbers might really surprise people who think technical school is second best. And, Beam adds, a college diploma does not guarantee anybody a job.
JUNE 17 The Washington Post reports here that OSHA is going to investigate the explosion that occurred last week in Donaldsonville, shortly after the other fatal accident in Geismar. As soon as the site is safe, State Police will be pulling out of the Donaldsonville plant to make way for OSHA investigators, the story reports. (Hey, here's an idea: why don't they go a couple miles down the road and figure out what happened when that massive sinkhole started sucking up land.)
JUNE 17 Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board of Supervisors in this post, taking a look at the many ways board members have served Gov. Jindal and not their university or their students. The board members are esteemed members of their fields, but can't seem to do anything but say "yes" to Jindal, regardless of the cost to LSU, Mann opines.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.