STERLINGTON, La. (KTVE/KARD) – The DOTD is looking to improve safety along US Hwy 165 at Lonewa Road by constructing  directional U-turn crossovers.

Even though the project’s potential for minimizing fatal accidents is not 100% confirmed, local residents and local business owners say they have serious concerns about the traffic and delays this may cause.

Johnny’s Pizza’s manager, Donna Smith, says she’s been building her business for almost fifteen years, she says she will hate to see her business getting hurt due to inconvenient access for their customers to the building. She says placing a red light instead, should be the option. 

“Red light doesn’t necessarily help.” Says mayor of Sterlington, Caesar Velasquez.

“It slows down traffic. You’re gonna have four lanes that are gonna be tight up to one lane to come out.” Says Velasquez. 

Mobile gas station manager, Ms. Kitty says she’s been working here for almost two decades. She says reducing the speed limit could also help minimize accidents. She says she also agrees with placing a red light instead. 

“I have asked them (DOTD) for a reducing speed limit coming from this water tower all the way up to the north highway too, and basically for one reason, I think if they go at a slow pace that will give them more time to break in.” Velasquez added. 

According to the DOTD report, there is a high history of fatal crashes at this intersection. This indicates that this type of safety enhancement could potentially reduce any future crashes by as much as 31 percent. 

“A lot of what has to happen is that, we as drivers have to maintain a defensiveness and make sure that we are driving safely.” Says Velasquez. 

The DOTD’s design of the directional U-turn opening will allow the flow of traffic to be maintained with less delay. 

“This is the only one that’s gonna be cut.” Says Velasquez. 

“Now,  if you wanna go South, coming out of Lonewa Rd, you just take a right and go to Monroe. If you need to go North, like towards Bastrop, you need to go South again, but you will have to get on the left lane to get into the turn that will take you back North.” Says the Mayor. 

Velazquez says the project may impact some local businesses, but improving safety first is a start

“It’s gonna impact them at first, but  again, what we are looking at, and what I’m hoping this is gonna, just like DOTD is looking at, is the safety aspect of it.” He says.  

Mayor Velazquez also says he will attend a meeting within the next few weeks to go over other potential options with DOTD.