LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Heading north on Enterprise Boulevard just north of I-10, driver's have noticed that the Enterprise overpass is out and has been for quite a while. That's because of the expansion project taking place that will ultimately connect downtown Lake Charles to Highway 171, via Enterprise Blvd.
"We thought we've got Enterprise which runs from McNeese Street to Geiffers Street" said Councilman Marshall Simien. "If we connect that to 171 we'd solve some problems. We'd connect those communities that have the disjointed roads" he said.
Since breaking ground almost a year and a half ago, phase one of the project has involved completely rebuilding the two lane roadway north of the overpass to a four lane boulevard and extending it to Katherine Street. While that won't come for a few months, Lake area residents may see some change in the overpass as early as Thursday.
"We hope to get the bridge back open no later than Thursday or Friday of this week- have the overpass back open" said Director of the Department of Public Works, Mister Edwards.
Once completed, this phase of the expansion project will see a new roadway from the end of the overpass north to Katherine Street. Although once the entire project is completed a new roadway spanning almost 3 miles north to 171.
"The ultimate goal is to go from 171 to the Enterprise overpass bridge" said Edwards.
According to Councilman Simien, after all phases are completed, having that roadway would not only give drivers a direct route to the downtown area but may also bring more business to an area that's nearly deserted.
"We'd like to hope that this is going to make their businesses better and hope that this will progress and help that community to grow" Edwards said.
With construction already being a year and a half underway, both Simien and Edwards agree on the catch-22 involved with redeveloping an area of the city.
"It's always when we interrupt people's lives and their livelihood" said Edwards. Anytime that you're putting a new sewer, new water, winding road it always effects someone in that area".
Even with the disruptions, they're confident that the hard work will pay off, and the community will be better for it.
"Some of these projects take a while but they're big projects and I think the citizens- by voting for this- wanted us to put our best foot forward and now they're starting to see that" said Simien.
As of now, there is no proposed date of when the entire project will be completed and the roadway between 171 and Enterprise will be functional.