Enterprise Boulevard Parkway Extension making progress - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Enterprise Boulevard Parkway Extension making progress

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The Enterprise Boulevard Parkway Extension project is making progress in Lake Charles. A portion of phase one of the project from the Rufus Mayfield Overpass to Gieffers Street is finished.

It's been under construction for more than two years and aims to connect U.S. 171 to downtown Lake Charles offering an alternate north to south route through Lake Charles, hopefully bringing with it economic development to north Lake Charles.

"It's an opportunity to open up some very beautiful waterfront for future development and to help develop the community," said Marshall Simien, Lake Charles City Councilman.

Simien gave the Lake Charles North Redevelopment Authority Board an update on where the project stands. So far, crews have paved four lanes from the overpass to Gieffers Street and aim to finish up phase one all the way to Katherine Street by April 2013.

Simien said once the entire project is complete, it is expected to do the following:

1.) Immediate traffic count to the area as an alternate route for Interstate-10;

2.) New north to south corridor for northern part of the parish through Lake Charles;

3.) Opportunities for economic development in North Lake Charles;

4.) Connectivity with Downtown/Lakefront; and

5.) More efficient hurricane evacuation route for citizens.

"The northern part connects the northern part of the parish to downtown and the rest of the city. So, once it's strong ... The chain is only as strong as it's weakest link," Simien said.

The completed part was opened to traffic on Nov. 10. But it's more than meets the eye.

To support the expected economic development, crews had to upgrade the sewer, water and electrical lines underground. The project is also recycling the old material from the original Enterprise Boulevard. Crews are now in the process of crushing it to use it as a base before re-pouring the new concrete.

As for the return on the investment Simien said the North Lake Charles Riverfront Redevelopment plan in 2006 projected by spending $50 million they can expect $600 million in development and value. 

"I think the economic boom we are developing in this area - I think there is going to be a population boom up here, too, and I think there is going to be a high demand for everything," said Simien.

It's a welcome sight for residents and business owners in the area.

"I think people are finally starting to see the beauty of that four-lane highway and the growth potential and see how people can use our community more. Hopefully, the growth will encourage more private development in our community," Milton Bellard Jr., business owner.

"We have some beautiful areas here that seems underdeveloped. I'm excited about our business opportunities and investment. They talked about economic development. I just see and I think the community now has the opportunity to see the vision of how we can expand all of Lake Charles," Ethel Ambrose, resident.

Phase two of the project will pick up at Katherine Street and go all the way to Fitzenreiter Road and eventually to U.S. 171. That phase will take at least a couple of years as they try to get the necessary funding, environmental work and logistics ironed out.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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