DOTD breaks ground on La. 97 project - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

DOTD breaks ground on La. 97 project

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The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, along with area and state officials, broke ground Wednesday on a road project in Jennings.

The $4.4 million project will create more roadway on La. 97 at a one-mile strip from La. 102 to just north of Florence Street.

Jennings Mayor Terry Duhon said the project has the potential to attract more business to the area.

State Rep. Johnny Guinn, R-Jennings, said the project has been needed since he was in elementary school. He said he is excited to see it take off now.

Officials said the project will create a continuous turn lane on La. 97 from La. 102 to one-mile north of La. 102.

"Louisiana 97 serves as a vital link to one of Louisiana's heavily-traveled east-west interstate highway corridors, I-10," said DOTD District 07 Administrator Steve Jiles. "Projects such as this help to enhance safety, improve travel for commuters and help to facilitate economic growth in the community."

Serving nearly 7,000 vehicles per day, La. 97 provides access to local commerce, educational institutions and facilities that provide services to U.S. veterans, officials said.

Additionally, this project will provide improved access to several transportation facilities in the immediate vicinity, including the Jennings Airport, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and the Mermentau River Port.

"This project will be an asset to the community with the enhancement of the flow of traffic and providing for the safety of students attending the three schools in the area," said State Sen. Dan Morrish.

"In continuation with our commitment to honoring our troops, the La. 97 improvements will ensure the continued safety of our veterans at home just as they were committed to our safety abroad," said Guinn.

Awarded to Cecil Perry Construction for $4.4 million, work on the project will begin in February 2013 and is estimated for completion in February 2014.

Over the last five years, more than $50 million has been dedicated to maintaining and improving Jefferson Davis Parish transportation infrastructure.

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