Letter: Donaldsonville is working backwards in highway upgrades

Staff Writer
Donaldsonville Chief

Dear Editor, 

In a community where we’ve spent countless dollars on engineers, research studies, surveys, and useless digital road signs to determine how to improve traffic flow on La. 1 in West Baton Rouge Parish so that it flows smoothly into East Baton Rouge Parish, Donaldsonville seems to be working backwards. While the idea of repaving La. 1 / Marchand Drive through this city was a brilliant idea, I’d like to talk to the city planners who thought that reducing a previously two-lane, major artery down to one lane was a good idea…and that center turning lane! Really? You have misjudged the intellectual functioning of most people who use that thing!

For those of us who travel La. 1 on a daily basis, whether it’s south through Donaldsonville or north through Port Allen, this idea was a huge mistake. Ever since this “reconstruction,” I have waited through numerous light cycles to get through Donaldsonville on Marchand Drive. Neither northbound nor southbound travel is a picnic. The delays are ridiculous and unnecessary. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to install a turning arrow at the St. Patrick St. light.

On a regular day, not a holiday, not an evacuation route day, not a game day, I have sat through three light cycles to get into Donaldsonville from La. 1 South. Recently, I was stopped on a weekday afternoon as far back as St. Francis of Assisi Church and was hoping that there was not some terrible accident ahead. Why was the traffic not moving? To my utter disgust, I realized that poor planning, in combination with a one-lane nightmare and extremely poor signal light timing, was causing the delay.

Donaldsonville, do you not want folks from neighboring parishes to visit your lovely little city? Do you not want us to see our families in this sleepy little town, or to patronize businesses such as Capital One Bank, Merle Norman, The Grapevine, or the First and Last Chance? There is no need to sit in a line for 10 minutes in a city this size, only to have road-raged cars pass you by on a shoulder, speeding, endangering the lives of the passengers in your vehicle, as well as those who reside along La. 1 coming in to town. What is the sense in this one-lane road? Does anyone who lives in this city drive through it on a daily basis and at different times of day? If so, I feel that they are still sitting there—getting dusty, waiting for a light to turn green, and green, and green again - before moving on to their destinations. Ridiculous, Donaldsonville! Get your highway and your signal light timing straight! Until then, I will find other charming parishes to visit and to patronize!

Wendy Rousseau LeBlanc

White Castle