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|OCOG include Millhaven in transportation plan|
The Ouachita Council of Governments agreed to include a project to widen Millhaven Road to five lanes in its long-range transportation improvement plan.
Action was taken Monday during OCOG's regular meeting.
David Creed, OCOG's executive director, said state Rep. Rosalind Jones requested OCOG include the project on its long-range transportation improvement plan.
He said since the project is unfunded at this time, local legislators would need to seek funding during the next regular legislative session before OCOG can take any action in moving the project forward.
The proposal calls for widening Millhaven Road to five lanes where a new campus for Delta Community College is scheduled to be built.
"Once Delta Community College is built, that current two-lane road will not be adequate," Creed said. "So, it seems like a good project."
Eventually, Creed said there will be access to the new campus from Interstate 20. However, until that access is established, there could be heavy traffic congestion along Millhaven Road with more people traveling it.
"Initially, all of that traffic is going to be going on that little two-lane road, and we're going to desperately need it widened, or at the very least, a long turning lane," Creed said. "I guarantee there will be traffic congestion there."
OCOG's Transportation Improvement Program is the agency's "short-range plan." Road and infrastructure improvement projects are added to that list once all sources of funding have been established.
"The reason we didn't add it to that is because you have to have funds available," Creed explained. "In order for it to move up, funds would have to be identified and OCOG would have to vote to move it up.
"This pretty much will be up to the legislative delegation. I would think our local legislative delegation would need to promote it in the next legislative session and identify funds. Once funds have been identified, we can move it up to the short-range plan.
"We can help look for funds, but there's not many places where you can find it right now."
Funding for such a project would come from the Federal Highway Administration, along with state and local funding.
The state Bond Commission earlier this year approved $45 million in revenue bonds for construction of the new Delta Community College campus in Monroe.
The campus will be housed on 68 acres off Millhaven Road on the north side of I-20.
The first proposed site for the new campus was the old State Farm facility on U.S. 165, which now is home to Accent Marketing's call center.
A new site was picked because Louisiana Community and Technical College System officials said the State Farm property was not large enough to accommodate future growth of Delta.