The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) held an open house at the Natchitoches Events Center, Tuesday, May 30. The purpose of the open house was to solicit public comment about a proposed roundabout at the intersection of HWY 6 and HWY 504 in Natchitoches.
The roundabout is designed to be safer than a conventional traffic signal as traffic slows, but does not stop, in a roundabout. This feature eliminates the high speed “T-Bone” type crashes that often result in serious injury or death that can occur when a traffic signal is not obeyed. In addition to being safer, the roundabout requires much less upkeep and maintenance than a traffic signal and is impervious to power outages.
Representatives of businesses in the area also approved of the upcoming roundabout. Ms. Linda Henderson, owner of the French Market Express, stated that she thought the roundabout was superior to a traffic circle as it would smooth out the traffic flow. She stated that she felt a traffic signal would slow traffic and cause backups, particularly during Christmas Festival time. The disruptions of traffic caused by a traffic signal would also have the effect of making exit 138 less attractive to passing motorists on I-49.
The proposed roundabout is currently in the environmental review stage. Should the project pass that review, the final plans will be due from the project manager. The project will then be put to bid in November, with the winning bidder starting construction in April or May 2024. The construction will be completed 180-200 calendar days from the beginning date. The project is funded by the federal government.
CUTLINE: Mr. Jason Rachal, Project Manager for the roundabout with a drawing of the roundabout.